There is no electric grid capacity in place to handle the radical energy transition that the Biden Administration, and state governors like Kathy Hochul are pushing via misnamed laws, mandates and regulations.

But maybe that’s the point.

The new regulations would force utilities that generate electricity from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas to adopt costly carbon capture and emissions standards.

Critics say the latest measures put forward by the EPA this past week will force many consumers and businesses to make do with less, and possibly shut down many power plants.

Less production of goods and services. Less travel. Less heat in the winter, less air conditioning in the summer. And all of it coming with one giant increase: costlier energy bills.

Reacting to the onerous standards, Director at the Texas Public Policy Foundation Jason Isaac commented to The Daily Wire:

“Carbon capture technologies are so expensive that the result will be the sudden retirement of reliable generation, and there will be nothing to replace it. This is a prime example of an unelected executive agency run amok, with a single-minded agenda of eliminating fossil fuels and controlling how we produce and consume energy regardless of the costs or consequences, all while doing nothing to mitigate a changing climate.”

(“Biden EPA Unveils New Crackdown On Power Plants,” 11 May 2023.)

The radical emissions requirements appear to fly in the face of a 2022 Supreme Court decision in West Virginia v. EPA.

In that case, several states and business organizations contended that the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which sought to impose radical limits on C02 emissions, exceeded its jurisdiction under the Clean Air Act.

The Supreme Court sided with states and business organizations 6-3, noting that the Clean Air Act did not plainly authorize the EPA to regulate power plant carbon dioxide emissions.

It ruled that Congress must unambiguously give wide power to an administrative agency under the “major questions doctrine,” and noted that the Clean Air Act did not plainly authorize the EPA to regulate power plant carbon dioxide emissions.

EPA Dirty Details

The new EPA regulations, under 40 CFR Part 60, [EPA-HQ-OAR-2023-0072; FRL-8536-02-OAR] are described as “New Source Performance Standards for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New, Modified, and Reconstructed Fossil Fuel-Fired Electric Generating Units; Emission Guidelines for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Existing Fossil Fuel-Fired Electric Generating Units; and Repeal of the Affordable Clean Energy Rule.” 

One of its core focuses involves carbon emission reductions of engines used to produce electricity at power plants.

Currently 60 percent of U.S. power plants generate electricity from hydrocarbons. 

Though the agency is seeking comment on several variations, all of its proposals represent radical new requirements.

One variation would implement “a single standard based on application of CCS with 90 percent capture, which could also be met by co-firing 96 percent (by volume) low-GHG hydrogen,” by target dates of 2035 and 2038.

Up until now there have been no federal rules requiring carbon capture, though some states like California have carbon capture requirements for new electric power plants that specify 65 percent capture goals.

Sterling Burnett, an environmental policy analyst with the Heartland Institute, said a major problem with “carbon capture” technology is that it’s currently vaporware, and is likely to be crushingly expensive when it does finally exist.

“By mandating the use of technology that doesn’t really exist on fossil fuel power plants, Biden and company are bringing the country to its knees, threatening to force the closure of the majority of reliable baseload and peaking power plants,” said Burnet, as reported by The Washington Free Beacon. (“How Biden’s New Environmental Rule Could Force Coal and Gas Plants To Shut Down Entirely,” 11 May 2023.)

NY: Natural Gas Bans And Fleeing Residents

Natural gas may be one of the most abundant and clean burning fuels available in the U.S., but the Carbon War—and the Degrowth ideology that animates it—has led New York’s Democrat Party to back bans on long-used efficient and cost effective use cases.

Activist driven legislation backed by Governor Kathy Hochul to ban gas stoves and force new buildings to use electricity for heating and appliances, passed the Democrat controlled legislature on 3 May, as reported by CNN. (“New York becomes the first state to ban natural gas stoves and furnaces in most new buildings,” 3 May 2023.)

This, despite the fact that a majority of New Yorkers oppose the measures.

A late February poll conducted by Siena College, for example, found 53 percent of New Yorkers were against the drive to ban gas stoves, and only 39 percent favored the idea, according to The Daily Caller. (“Majority Of New Yorkers Oppose Gas Stove Ban: POLL,” 27 Feb 2023.)

In 2022, Hochul signed legislation sunsetting the sale of gas powered cars in the state by 2035.

Perhaps just as pernicious is a “Cap-and-Invest” program Hochul pushed which raises taxes on businesses “guilty” of emitting C02 to create a billion dollar fund that will supposedly keep energy prices affordable for citizens.

One probable consequence of the scheme is that forcing businesses to try to implement more costly green technologies—which have their own huge environmental impacts—will either be passed onto consumers, or force many businesses to go under, or opt to move elsewhere.

The bans and new regulations are part of extreme carbon reduction goals Hochul has endorsed in the state’s new budget, which aim for 85 percent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. 

Many, including The New York Post, say the new laws are widely opposed and would force a transition to electric grid capacity that doesn’t exist. (“New York on cusp of being first state in nation to ban natural gas under new budget — and residents are furious,” 28 Apr 2023.)

In a situation of energy scarcity, it’s a good bet as to who will do without.

Joseph Hogan of the Associated Contractors of New York State, told the Post that even more longtime residents will likely choose to leave the state, accelerating a “flee from NY” trend that has been happening for years.

And Assemblyman Phillip Palmesano (R-Corning) pointed out alternative energy infrastructure and capacity in New York doesn’t exist:

“The proper way is to make sure we have the technology and resources analyzed before we start shutting down reliable resources that provide heating to families and to small businesses. I will reiterate if businesses in New York can’t get an affordable and reliable energy supply in New York they’re gonna go someplace else where they can get it.”

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