Does the US need Coal?

By the Institute for Energy Research, Special for USDR.

The Institute for Energy Research released today a report assessing the implications of the federal government’s anti-coal policies. The report, “Protect the American People: Moratorium on Coal Plant Closures Essential,” was co-authored by Dr. Roger Bezdek and Dr. Frank Clemente and comes in the wake of the EPA’s newly proposed greenhouse gas regulations, which will force electricity providers to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide.

“This report offers fact-based evidence to illustrate why the United States should not abandon coal as a primary source for electricity. The EPA’s latest proposal will send electricity prices through the roof—inflicting the most harm on the elderly, the poor, those on fixed incomes, businesses, families, schools, and hospitals. I compliment Dr. Bezdek and Dr. Clemente for bringing these issues to light,” IER President Thomas Pyle said upon release of the study.

“Our electric grid has been called the most complex machine ever made. When Americans flip a switch they expect their lights to come on. During the hot summer months they can count on their air conditioning to cool their homes. The Obama administration’s anti-coal policies threaten our electric grid and our way of life by promoting policies that deliberately cut one of our most abundant, affordable, and reliable sources of electricity. This report should serve as a wake up call that their policies are already having profound impacts, and when combined with a flurry of new regulations, the way forward for Americans may include an electric system that is not there when we need it,” added Pyle.

The report calls for an immediate moratorium on closure of coal plants to protect reliability, maintain affordability and security of our energy system for families and businesses. Key findings include:

  • Policies that hurt the U.S. coal fleet will significantly increase wholesale electric rates – and could increase them by as much as 80 percent;
  • Anti-coal policies harm those who can least afford it – low income families, minorities, children and the elderly;
  • By taking coal out of our energy mix, huge price increases for other electricity sources will be necessary to make sure the lights stay on;
  • Coal met 92 percent of the year-over-year incremental electricity demand during the first two months of 2014;
  • In early 2014, without coal plants, parts of New England, the Midwest and other regions would have experienced brownouts and blackouts that would have been economically disastrous and threatened human health and safety, and next winter many of those plants will not operate due to government policies;
  • U.S. coal used for electricity generation has increased 170 percent since 1970 as key emission rates have been reduced by 90 percent;
  • Key states will be especially negatively impacted, including Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, West Virginia and Wyoming.
All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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