Unbound utilities, unchecked environmentalism, and short-sighted planning responsible for when/if the lights go out.
Years ago I wrote on the EPA regulations that essentially write off the future of coal for electrical generation.
Shortly after that that I wrote another piece which described the layers of problems facing the folks in rural areas, and specifically the Upper peninsula with the failure to support our coal burning electrical platform. However, the meat of the piece better describes the way in which natural gas providers have also played a a part in defeating coal.
Coming amidst an impending decision by the EPA on the Utility MACT (maximum achievable control technology) rule that is expected to lead to job loses, plant shutdowns, and rolling blackouts across the country, this strange partnership raises a question. What does Chesapeake stand to gain, by pouring money into a seemingly disparate organization with extremely different objectives and priorities? Politico writes:
The ads come as the coal industry is at war with the Obama administration over new rules to curb pollution from coal-fired power plants. The EPA is expected to issue new rules on Friday to curb air toxics from power plants, which are estimated to cost industry about $10.9 billion each year.Stricter rules for power plants are expected to offer a competitive advantage to the cleaner-burning natural gas industry.
Oh, so its an end-justifies-the-means kind of thing. Rent seeking. But when questioned, Chesapeake officials have stated that the flood of cash to ALA is merely business as usual for the company, which donates to “a wide variety and number of health and medical-related organizations. Well that’s very responsible of them, bravo for being so charitable.
Of course we all know better.
The natural gas providers sided with the Obama administration and ponied up the dough to play out the coughing babies, as-if said babies were chimney sweeps in bloody old England. Chesapeake in particular gave a half million to help the American Lung Association buttress the Obama admin position that coal is bad, and the clean air act which would give more regulatory power to the EPA was appropriate.
While ignoring the newer clean burning technology already being developed, the administration was hard into the process of forcing coal plants off the map, while at the same time creating a problem for nuclear alternatives, leaving open the door for natural gas to assume base-load capacity for electrical generation.
Several coal fired generation plants have been shuttered in the last 7 years alone. Nuclear plants are no longer built. Add to this, the removal of hydroelectric alternatives through ‘restoration’ initiatives has created a baseload of problems in Michigan.
And as you may or may not know, the last possible addition of coal as a provider of that thing we take for granted was shot down. As soon as we thought it might actually happen, it was thereafter shot down by environmentalists and the significant power concerns holding the governor, and legislature’s leash.
A dozen years ago, this wouldn’t have happened. A dozen years ago however, our electrical baseload/peak capacity was over 30,000MW. Today it’s around 22,000MW, and with the projected closing of the 811MW plant in Glen Haven shortly, expect to see these messages more often. Even though the utilities were warned that they must “meet load and reserve margin requirements.”
” In Michigan in 2012, two large baseload nuclear plant outages occurred during a hot weather event. In order to be prepared for a potential repeat of that scenario, additional steps should be taken between now and 2018 to ensure that the Lower Peninsula of Michigan will be able to meet load and reserve margin requirements.”
But wait, what does heat (mostly natural gas) have to do with electricity?
As mentioned previously, natural gas is the only baseload option left on the table. We can no longer build coal plants, dams for hydro electric, or commission new nuclear facilities. So now the remaining options are natural gas for baseload, and windmills, solar panels, and unicorns jumping over rainbows for show.
Natural Gas, which Michiganians generally use for heating has been the replacement for electrical generation. The problem is that when things go BOOM in GAS-LAND, it reveals another weakness in the competitive use of gas for electrical generation of base load.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has now made it even harder to maintain current coal plants, and short of a rework by congress and our EPA, reductions in output must done to comply, meaning more reductions in output. It’s really hard for the left to see the forest for the trees.
Indeed, all roads eventually lead somewhere.
Perhaps in this case, environmental extremism, coupled with corporate greed, and a lust for power has presented a a possible end of the road where Michigan cannot provide for it’s electrical needs by itself anymore. Threats of outages, outages, and higher utility costs are only the start of the next lost decade.
Of course, it’s not like migration from Michigan doesn’t happen every 10 years or so.