As many prominent scientists predict a prolonged period of global cooling, new EPA regulations are likely to cause critical power shortages and consumer cost hikes.
Bloomberg reports that the Brattle Group, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based consulting company, estimates that forced coal plant closures may boost utility prices for grids serving one-third of the U.S. population by as much as 25 percent. Hardest hit by this blizzard of bureaucratic bungling will be economically-disadvantaged residents in the Midwest and Northeast during cold winter months.
About half of the plant shutdowns are expected to take effect next year. Teri Viswanath, director of commodities strategy at BNP in New York projects that this will cut approximately 20,000 megawatts of current coal plant power by the end of 2015. That capability will be replaced by only about 4,000 megawatts of natural gas along with some renewables.
Standard & Poor’s is even more pessimistic. They project that 40 to 75 gigawatts — 75,000 megawatts — of coal units may be shut down by 2020. Among these, plant owners within America’s largest grid — the mid-Atlantic — plan to eliminate 11,578 megawatts of available output through 2015. That’s enough to supply more than 9 million homes.
Those shuttered coal plants which are eventually replaced with natural gas won’t nearly make up the difference. Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. which manages a Manitoba to Louisiana network expects to see a power shortage of about 2,000 megawatts by 2016, with increasing deficits mounting after that.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (USEIA) 75 percent of the 35,374 megawatts in gas plant projects planned from 2014 through 2020 haven’t yet started construction. While many still await regulatory approval, BNP’s Viswanath said, “We are going through the lightest development cycle we’ve ever witnessed over the next decade and it’s in response to a period of very, very low power prices . . . What we’re seeing is a net subtraction of supply.”
Despite the shale boom which has reduced natural gas operations costs to between $30-$35 per megawatt-hour, the transition from coal at about $25 will still run up expenses. Philip Moeller of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) told Bloomberg, “We are really in for a wild ride for five to six years because of the amount of coal shutting down in such a short amount of time and the transformation toward more gas being used to generate electricity.” He concluded, “Prices will definitely rise. The question is how much.”
That rise in electricity prices won’t likely create adequate investment incentive to replace EPA casualties. NRG Energy, Inc. CEO David Crane told Bloomberg, “When natural gas sets the marginal price of electricity, it not only makes it impossible to build any other type of power plant unless there is a market mandate but it also makes it impossible to build natural gas plants.”
All of this self-inflicted regulatory recklessness puts populations in northern regions at special risk. As David Crane lamented regarding last winter’s experience when power and gas prices surged: “The polar vortex scared us to death at NRG. If the polar vortex were to happen two years from now, I don’t know what would have happened in the Northeast.”
Such fear is well warranted. Even as atmospheric CO2 levels continue to rise, many scientists predict that the past 18 years of flat mean global temperatures is a prelude to a long period of deep cooling. One of them is a top scientist with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) an organization made famous by alarmist theoretical model-based global warming predictions eagerly trumpeted in the mainstream media.
Commenting on the present temperature pause which he believes can extend for another decade, IPCC’s Dr. Mojib Latif of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences recently told Bavarian Radio, “That does not surprise climate scientists like me at all, as for us this is completely normal.”
U.S. and Russian solar physicists predict that Planet Earth may be heading into a very long cooling period correlated with periodically low sunspot activity. Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov who heads Russia’s prestigious Pulkovo Observatory in St. Petersburg believes that solar activity is waning to such an extent that that a deep freeze will last until the end of this century.
Observing that such events have occurred five times over the past 1,000 years, Dr. Abdussamatov points out, “A global freeze will come about regardless of whether or not industrialized countries put a cap on their greenhouse gas emissions.”
While eternal and dramatic climate changes have nothing to do human influences, a clear present crisis truly does. Real blame for this man-made calamity must be attributed to activist EPA anti-fossil fuel agendas premised entirely upon political science.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is author of “Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax,” and his professional aerospace work has been featured on the History Channel and the Discovery Channel-Canada. Read more of his reports - Click Here Now
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