Guy Caruso: Don’t Advance Agendas at the Expense of Reliable Energy

The Biden administration has made it clear their intention to transition our nation towards renewable energy technologies. While a noble pursuit, there is one large issue with that goal: it is not yet widely feasible. Now, the administration’s Environmental Protection Agency is proposing two rules that would accelerate this transition through regulation of vehicle tailpipes and power plant emissions. Writing in Inside Sources, Guy Caruso, former administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration under President George W. Bush, examines the two new proposed rules that could push America’s energy grid towards an unstable future.

The EPA’s proposed power plant rule would require most fossil fuel power plants to cut greenhouse has emission by 90 percent between 2035 and 2040. If the rule were to be implemented, about 120 natural gas and 200 coal-fired plants would be forced to shut down. Should those plants shutter, the energy grid could be left without adequate power replacements, especially as carbon capture technologies lag in terms of cost and efficiency. Caruso writes, “officials estimate that the proposed rule would raise average utility bills by 2 percent by 2030, declining to 1 percent through 2040…In other words, if plants are forced to close prematurely, Americans will pay more for a less stable grid.”

Couple the power plants rule with the EPA’s proposed vehicle tailpipe emissions regulation and the electrical grid will be put under even more strain. Caruso argues that the rule would not only increase the usage of the grid considerably, but also cost the average American more money. He writes, “As written, the emissions standards rule would artificially accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in the U.S. That would limit consumer choice considerably, as the average price for a brand-new EV is about $61,500 compared to the average of $46,681 for a traditional gas-powered vehicle.” As an example, Caruso notes California’s recent emergency measures to avoid blackouts by “reversing course on closing three natural gas plants” in case of an electrical grid failure. It is important to note that California has spearheaded the shift to electric vehicles, further straining its grid.

Caruso also references the 2023 Summer Reliability Assessment from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation that warns the U.S.’ electrical grid faces an elevated risk of blackouts this summer if the weather turns extreme. He finishes by writing, “The EPA’s proposed rules advance the administration’s climate agenda at the expense of reliable electricity. As the analysis from NERC illustrates, the U.S. must carefully manage the retirement of power plants today—regardless of any more restrictive regulations that could come to fruition.”

Read Guy Caruso’s piece from Inside Sources here: CARUSO: Don’t Advance Agendas at the Expense of Reliable Energy

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