The mark of a developed country is reliable, affordable energy. Despite this undeniable fact, the Biden administration and what Robert Bryce calls the anti-industry industry are rushing pell-mell to destabilize our electric grid, while charging Americans more and more for less and less electricity. This impoverishment of ordinary Americans is not an unfortunate by-product of liberal energy policies. Rather, it is the central goal of those policies.
Bryce writes at Substack about the deliberate devastation of our electric grid:
On May 4, members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission delivered stark warnings to the members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The agency’s acting chairman, Willie Phillips, told the senators, “We face unprecedented challenges to the reliability of our nation’s electric system.”
FERC Commissioner Mark Christie echoed Phillips’ warning, saying the U.S. electric grid is “heading for a very catastrophic situation in terms of reliability.”
The principal cause is the premature retirement of coal plants, which is driven entirely by anti-consumer regulation:
[FERC Commissioner James] Danly told the senators, “FERC has allowed the markets to fall prey to the price distorting and warping effects of subsidies and public policies that have driven the advancement of large quantities of intermittent renewable resources onto the electric system.” In his written testimony, Danly went further, saying “Most of these market-distorting forces originate with subsidies — both state and federal — and from public policies that are otherwise designed to promote the deployment of non-dispatchable wind and solar assets or to drive fossil-fuel generators out of business as quickly as possible.”
Danly continued: “The subsidies available to renewable generators are so lucrative that, when participating in procurement auctions, they are able to offer at a price of zero instead of their actual cost. The market signal thereby created is that these new resources can be built for free, and thus the cost of power is also free. This, of course, is untrue, and the inevitable consequence is market-wide price suppression. The price suppression deprives other market participants of much-needed revenue, leading to the premature retirement of the dispatchable generators which have to offer into the market at their true costs in order to remain viable.”
During questioning of the FERC commissioners, the chairman of Senate ENR, Joe Manchin, the Democrat from West Virginia, asked all of the commissioners a simple question: can the electric grid as it exists today, be reliable without coal-fired generation? All of the commissioners said no, with Christie saying “We need to keep coal for the foreseeable future.”
We need to keep coal, if we don’t want Americans to be poor people shivering in the dark. That is, however, precisely what the Biden administration and the “green” lobby do intend.
Exactly one week after that May 4 hearing, the Environmental Protection Agency announced a proposed rule that could force the closure of every coal-fired power plant in America as well as most of the natural gas plants if they cannot cut their emissions by 90%. Here’s how Politico reported on it: The new rule will require, “most fossil fuel power plants to slash their greenhouse gas pollution 90% between 2035 and 2040 — or shut down.”
At the link, Bryce explains why that can’t possibly be done. We are on a collision course between “green” dreams and reality, and reality is going to win. The situation would be dire even if demand for electricity were to stay constant, but of course that is not what the Left has in mind:
[T]he top people and key agencies that oversee the operation of the electric grid — FERC, NERC, and PJM — are all warning that our most important energy network is becoming less reliable. That declining reliability is happening at the same time the NGO-corporate-industrial-climate complex is spending tens of millions of dollars on campaigns to “electrify everything.” Those measures include bans on natural gas for heating and cooking in homes and businesses. The alt-energy push also includes, of course, electric vehicles. And again, the timing matters. The EPA’s May 11 announcement about power plants came less than a month after the same agency announced pollution rules that could require up to two-thirds of all the new vehicles sold in the country to be electric by 2032.
We are driving off a cliff, and American prosperity–our status as a developed country–is at stake.