Frustrated that Congress refused to enact cap-tax-and-trade, President Obama unleashed EPA to promulgate thousands of pages of rules governing carbon dioxide, “toxic” pollutants that have already been reduced dramatically, “cross-state transport” of emissions, and other power plant operations. All tout health claims based on virtual reality computer models, cherry-picked research and illusory benefits. But the adverse health and economic impacts of the new regulations are significant, real … and ignored.
Management Information Services, Inc. calculates that the air toxics and cross-state rules alone will cost utilities upwards of $130 billion, to retrofit existing plants or demolish them and build replacements – plus some $30 billion a year for operations and maintenance. National Economic Research Associates says power companies will have to pay $184 billion through 2030, including $72 billion in immediate capital costs, to comply with the two regulations. The rules will send electricity prices skyrocketing 12-60% and cost six Midwestern manufacturing states a combined 3.5 million jobs and $42-82 billion in annual state GDP, says MISI.
Few companies can justify those costs for older power plants. No wonder they’ve lost interest in CCS experiments. Utilities will simply close dozens of generating units, representing tens of thousands of megawatts. Illinois alone will lose nearly 3,500 MW of reliable, affordable baseload electricity by 2014. The cross-state rule alone will prematurely shut down nearly 25% of America’s coal-based electricity generating capacity, says Texas Environmental Quality Commissioner Bryan Shaw. The United States could lose as much as 60,000 MW by 2017 – enough to power 60,000,000 homes and small businesses.
And all this is before considering the cost of removing plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide from power plant exhaust streams, under EPA “endangerment” rules. Once EPA implements those plans, utilities will have to spend billions more to design, build, install and operate CCS equipment, pipeline and storage facilities.
These “parasitic” systems produce no electricity. In the process of pulling CO2 out of the exhaust stream and sending it to underground reservoirs, they consume one-third or more of a power plant’s electricity output – at $60-85 per ton of CO2 captured – adding yet another 30-80% to family and business electricity rates. We will need far more power plants to generate the same net electricity.
If Americans need still more reasons for “retreating” on “climate change prevention,” consider this. There has been no measureable increase in average global temperatures since 1995. The Climategate emails proved that unscrupulous scientists were colluding with each other, vying to publish the most alarmist “findings,” and pressuring scientific journals not to publish articles by climate realists. IPCC headline-grabbing “climate disasters” turned out to be rank speculation, computer model hogwash or fraud.
Moreover, China, India and other countries are constantly building coal-fired power plants. Thus, even slashing US carbon dioxide emissions to zero will merely destroy American jobs, companies and living standards – making our current unemployment, debt and family misery indexes seem like paradise.
Businessweek barely touched on this. Nor did it ask Mr. Bloomberg, Sierra Club, Lisa Jackson or President Obama just how they intend to replace all this lost electricity. Their glib sound-bite answer is always “renewable energy,” especially wind. Just once, it would be nice if they offered some specifics.
* Replacing just one 600-MW coal-fired power plant with wind turbines would require a 50,000-acre wind farm, like the one at Fowler Ridge, Indiana, assuming it operates 24 hours a day, every day – which of course no wind farm ever will. And these guys are talking about replacing a lot of power plants.
* Providing “green” electricity to meet New York City’s needs would require blanketing the State of Connecticut with wind turbines, says Rochester U environmental science professor Jesse Ausubel.
* Replacing the third of US coal-fired generation that Bloomberg wants shut down would require over 50,000 monstrous offshore turbines, one every half-mile, in a five-mile-wide obstacle course along the entire Atlantic coastline, according to calculations by Power magazine editor-in-chief Robert Peltier.
All these wind turbines would need to be backed up 90-100% by (mostly) gas-fired generators that can surge almost instantaneously from “spinning reserve” to full power, whenever the turbines stop working – which they tend to do on the hottest days, when electricity demand is at its peak. That means we will need vast natural gas resources.
Fortunately, America has them, especially now that we know how to use horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to unlock our abundant conventional and shale gas deposits. Unfortunately, Bloomberg Obama & Comrades oppose onshore and offshore drilling and “fracking.” And few really suppose these energy “purists” will ever support all these land-hungry, scenery-scarring, raw material-intensive, bat and raptor-killing wind turbine installations.
Talk about cognitive dissonance. These guys need some serious psychological counseling. We seem to be governed by petulant ideologues who detest and obstruct every energy system that works – and support large-scale systems that don’t work only until someone actually proposes to install one. The problem is pervasive, growing and seemingly intractable. But the bottom line is simple.
If Bloomberg Obama & Comrades have their way, America faces a grim future: of rampant energy deprivation, unemployment, poverty, heatstroke, misery and death – at the hands of these ruling elites.
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