Washington, DC – Consumer Energy Alliance, an advocate for energy consumers, released the following statement today reacting to the Environmental Protection Agency proposing a 30% reduction in carbon emissions from existing power plants.
Michael Whatley, an Exec. VP with Consumer Energy Alliance who once served as the staff director and chief counsel for the U.S. Senate Energy Public Works Clean Air and Climate Change Subcommittee, raised a warning flag that the regulations will disproportionately affect energy consumers in states in the Midwest and Southeast that are heavily reliant on coal to generate electricity:
We are very concerned with the numbers. In the name of ‘flexibility,’ EPA is handing the states an unfunded mandate with instructions to eliminate coal-fired generation. We need to have all options on the table – including nuclear, natural gas, renewables and coal – in order to ensure that utilities and electric cooperatives can deliver affordable and reliable electricity to America’s families, factories and farms. Unfortunately, both the level of cuts in coal-based generation and the timelines for implementation that are proposed today will cause substantial reliability concerns and will ensure higher electricity prices across the board.
Consumer Energy Alliance hosted electricity affordability forums called Powering Our Future in Nashville, TN and Columbus, OH in 2013 as part of an effort to educate state lawmakers on the forthcoming EPA regulations.
Clay Robbins, an executive with Oglethorpe Power Corporation, explained during the Nashville event the costs his company undertook complying with existing regulations:
“In order to meet existing EPA rules on SO2, NOX, and mercury, Oglethorpe Power will have more than doubled its original investment in its ownership shares of Plant Scherer and Plant Wansley by the time all of the controls are placed into service in early 2014.” He continued, “However, during the timeframe that these control systems have been under construction, emissions of each of these matters have decreased by 85% or more while generation output has significantly increased. The costs of these modifications will necessarily be borne by our consumers, many of those in rural areas who are least able to afford any additional increases in their energy bills for very marginal additional benefits.”
Consumer Energy Alliance has launched an affordable electricity petition for the public to alert President Obama and Members of Congress about their support for affordable electricity:
Policies that promote sound regulation, diversification of fuel for power generation and the efficient production and transportation of electricity help lower the cost of powering our cars, homes and businesses. Coal, nuclear, natural gas and renewable electricity providers each face regulatory hurdles that limit their long-term certainty and impede planning.