Blackout Rule Threatens Economy

Dec 7, 2011

EPA is about to unveil the costliest rule in its history—and the Chamber is leading an effort to make sure the business community’s voice is heard.  By December 16th, EPA is scheduled to release the Utility MACT rule, which could cause significant electricity reliability constraints that would have a ripple effect throughout our economy if implemented on its currently-scheduled timeline.

The Wall Street Journal points out that a North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) report found that regulations like the "Blackout Rule" will stress the power grid "in ways never before experienced."

That's because the three-years that utilities have to comply with the rule under the Clean Air Act won't be long enough to replace, retrofit, or convert power plants from coal-fired to other sources. The WSJ writes,

Replacing power is not like replacing a lost cellphone. There are bottlenecks in permitting, engineering, financing and building a new plant and then tying it to the electricity network. Over this same three-year window, NERC estimates that between 576 and 677 plants will need to be temporarily shut down to install retrofits like scrubbers or baghouses.

I've written about how EPA rules on power generators are already costing jobs in Texas, and how electricity distributors see rolling blackouts in the future. The President has the opportunity now to realize the potentially devastating reliability and economic costs of the rule–like he did with the ozone rule–and give power plants more time to comply with Utility MACT.

Look for more from the Chamber and other industry groups as the 16th draws closer.

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