Tuesday, May 14, 2024

The EPA’s Proposals for Power Plants Satisfy the Definition of Insanity


Why is the agency putting forth the same policies that have so clearly failed in Europe over and over again?

he U.K. and Germany have been “experimenting” with policies to promote an energy transition for more than a decade. The results have been a large increase in energy costs for households and industry, driven by levies to subsidise uneconomic generation, and rising volatility in electricity markets accompanied by a higher risk of power outages in future.

As Einstein famously did not say, running the same experiment repeatedly and expecting to obtain different results is one indicator of insanity. The EPA seems intent on meeting that criterion by proposing the same failed policies as Europe. The essence of these proposals is to accelerate the closure of existing coal and gas plants and, effectively, to prohibit the construction of fossil-fuel-powered replacements by mandating the adoption of carbon capture and other technologies that are both experimental and would impose punitive costs on operators.

Over the last 15 years the German and U.K. governments implemented similar policies under more-favorable conditions than in the U.S. They were eventually forced to change course because of fears of power outages during periods of low solar and wind generation. At first, power companies were paid to extend the life of lignite and coal plants. More recently, the German government agreed to spend 16 billion euros to fund ten gigawatts of new gas generation, while the U.K. government announced that it would support the construction of new gas plants to ensure energy security. It is unclear whether the EPA has even tried to learn from the European experience. If it did, then either it has ignored obvious lessons or it has hired advisers who told the agency what it wanted to hear...more

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