EPA’s energy plan will leave you without power US grid operators warn

Biden vs, Fossil Fuels

Important Takeaways:

  • US grid operators warn Biden’s power plant crackdown could trigger ‘significant power shortages’
  • The nation’s largest power grid operators, which collectively provide power to 154 million Americans, joined a chorus of voices expressing concern about the Biden administration’s crackdown on gas-fired plants.
  • In joint comments filed Tuesday with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), four major grid operators — PJM Interconnection, Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Electric Reliability Council of Texas and Southwest Power Pool — stated that under the proposal announced earlier this year, grid reliability will “dwindle to concerning levels.” The four nonpartisan entities operate across 2 million square miles in all or parts of 30 states.
  • “As the penetration of renewable resources continues to increase, the grid will need to rely even more on generation capable of providing critical reliability attributes,” they wrote in their comment letter. “With continued and potentially accelerated retirements of dispatch able generation, supply of these reliability attributes will dwindle to concerning levels.”
  • The grid operators further warned that if carbon capture technology isn’t developed as quickly as EPA anticipates it will be, the U.S. would be left without sufficient power supply. Carbon capture technology is being used at just one large-scale facility in the world, the Boundary Dam Power Station in Canada.
  • “This proposal also strips states of important discretion while using technologies that don’t work in the real world — so it sets up the plants for failing to meet the standards dictated in the rule, leaving the plants with no other option but to cease operations,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said in a statement.
  • “This is designed to scare more coal-fired power plants into retirement — the goal of the Biden administration’s so-called green new deal,” he said. “That tactic is unacceptable, and this rule appears to utterly fly in the face of the rule of law.”

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Heat wave drives U.S. West power prices to highest since February freeze

(Reuters) – Extreme heat expected to blanket the U.S. West next week caused power prices for Monday to soar to their highest since the February freeze when natural gas pipelines and wind turbines froze in Texas leaving millions without power.

High temperatures will reach the low 90s F (about 34 C) in Los Angeles on Monday-Wednesday, which is about 20 degrees higher than the city’s normal high for this time of year, according to AccuWeather forecasts.

Last summer, a heat wave in August forced California utilities to impose rotating blackouts that left over 400,000 homes and businesses without power for up to 2-1/2 hours when energy supplies ran short.

The group responsible for North American electric reliability has already warned that California is the U.S. region most at risk of power shortages this summer because the state increasingly relies on intermittent energy sources like wind and solar, and as climate change causes more extreme heat events, drought and wildfires across the U.S. West.

Power traded on Friday for Monday delivery jumped to $151 per megawatt hour (MWh) at Palo Verde in Arizona and $95 in SP-15 in Southern California, their highest since the February freeze caused prices across the country to soar.

In addition to soaring power prices, gas for the rest of 2021 in California has traded at its highest in years on expectations an extreme drought in the U.S. West will cut hydropower supplies and force the state to rely more on gas-fired power plants this summer.

That would make it tough for California to reduce carbon dioxide emissions this year and shows how difficult it would be for the most-populous U.S. state to keep the lights on if it starts shutting gas-fired plants in the coming years as it moves toward getting all electricity from carbon-free sources by 2045.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

Death toll from Japan quake hits 44, power supply, Toyota output disrupted

Police officers and members of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) carry a missing person found from an area damaged by a landslide caused by an earthquake in Atsuma town, Hokkaido, northern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo September 8, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

By Kaori Kaneko and Osamu Tsukimori

TOKYO (Reuters) – The death toll from a powerful earthquake in northern Japan last week rose to 44, with 660 injured, the government said on Monday, as electricity supply remained short and top automaker Toyota suspended work at most of its assembly plants.

The pre-dawn, 6.7-magnitude quake on Thursday temporarily paralyzed the island of Hokkaido, cutting off access by air and train and knocking out power to an island the size of Austria.

A family is seen at a gymnasium of elementary school, acting as an evacuation shelter at an area damaged by an earthquake in Sapporo, Hokkaido, northern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo September 7, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

A family is seen at a gymnasium of elementary school, acting as an evacuation shelter at an area damaged by an earthquake in Sapporo, Hokkaido, northern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo September 7, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

About 2,500 people remain in evacuation centers, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, after landslides buried houses and rain at the weekend loosened soil in a further threat to unstable houses.

Yoshihide Suga, the top government spokesman, said a team of about 40,000 Self-Defense Force troops, police, firefighters and others were working on clearing debris and other clean-up operations. There were no more missing residents, he said.

Power supply has been restored to nearly all customers in Hokkaido but trade minister Hiroshige Seko called on the island’s businesses and 5.3 million residents to use about 20 percent less energy to prevent further blackouts.

“It’s very important now for all residents, businesses, the government, and electricity suppliers to work together towards this goal of 20 percent energy-saving,” Seko told a news conference late on Sunday.

The government has no plans for rolling blackouts on Monday and Tuesday despite the continued closure of a fossil fuel-fired power plant that supplies about half the island’s power, he said.

With electricity restored, Toyota Motor Corp said on Monday its parts factory in Tomakomai, Hokkaido, which builds transmissions and other components, was preparing to resume production during the night shift.

However, the fallout has already spread beyond the island, with Toyota suspending production at 16 of its 18 domestic car assembly plants on Monday to assess its parts inventory. The automaker said it would gradually restore production from Tuesday, resuming work fully by Thursday.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko, Maki Shiraki, Osamu Tsukimori; Writing by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Paul Tait)