The Electricity Supply Disaster We Now FaceAlan Carlin | October 31, 2015
Obama’s so-called “Clean Power Plan” (which I refer to as the Skyrocketing Rates Power Plan or SRPP) will dramatically raise electricity prices for most Americans and make electricity much more unreliable than it has been for the last hundred years. It will also impose centralized control of the system in a Washington bureaucracy (EPA) that has little or no knowledge of or experience with controlling a vast industry absolutely crucial to American welfare and economic success. By adjusting a few arbitrary numbers in Washington as to the percentage of electricity to be generated from various sources, EPA can (just as they already have) force individual states to build additional non-hydro renewable sources without regard to the effects on reliability, prices, jobs, or the states involved.
The electricity market has long been successfully controlled by the states with some limited oversight by a different Federal bureaucracy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Without any Congressional action, and in fact using much of the cap and trade approach turned down by Congress in 2009-10, all this has now been thrown overboard on the basis of a scientific fantasy. This fantasy has given rise to the further fantasy that government action can control extreme weather by reducing a trace atmospheric gas (CO2) vital to life on Earth, but until recently was called controlling global warming and later controlling climate change. Even EPA admits that its actions will have little if any measurable effect on these nebulous and changing goals.
Why Urgent Action Is Needed
The US electricity generation and distribution system is the envy of the world, but it is now being endangered for no reason. This is not just idle speculation. A number of Western European nations have already tried a similar approach with demonstrably disastrous results. Great Britain in entering the winter with as little as a 1 percent margin of generating capacity over normal use, users are complaining about rapidly increasing rates, and energy intensive industries are shutting down or moving elsewhere. Germany has rates approximately three times higher than US rates and is turning to very polluting brown coal to keep the lights on.
Now Obama and EPA have decreed that the US must go down the same road. The results will obviously be the same. The most extraordinary thing is that few are complaining about what will happen despite its inevitability. The Federal Government has seized control of a major and vital segment of the US economy which will have disastrous results that have already been demonstrated in other countries, and even most conservative political groups are largely silent. Can there be a more vital issue for America’s future and welfare other than national defense? I doubt it, but until the American conservative movement as a whole starts to take notice and alerts the public to this disastrous power grab, it is likely to continue.
Congress Can Take Action Shortly
To avert a real disaster (as opposed to the fake ones claimed by EPA and the environmental movement), urgent action is needed. It is possible that the US Supreme Court will step in down the road and declare the SRPP illegal after much damage has already been done, but that would mean that they would have to admit their 2007 decision in Massachusetts vs. EPA was wrong. The most effective action can be taken by Congress. Votes under the Congressional Review Act are likely very soon in both the House and the Senate to overturn the SRPP (see House Joint resolutions 71 and 72 and Senate Joint Resolutions 23 and 24). Or the nation can elect a new President in 2016 who promises to undo the SRPP before still more damage occurs. Hillary Clinton, however, has already announced that she would make the SRPP even worse.
Much more information and detailed references on all this can be found in my new book, Environmentalism Gone Mad, available at the book website.