Thursday, July 21, 2011

Texas Pushes Back on EPA Threat to Turn Out the Lights

ERCOT: EPA Rule Threatens to Turn Out the Lights in Texas
Texas’ Electric Reliability Coalition of Texas — ERCOT — is firing up the warning flare that if the EPA’s new cross-state rules go into effect on January 1, 2012, parts of Texas may well go dark:
This is one of those cases where we believe it is our role to voice our concern that Texas could face a shortage of generation necessary to keep the lights on in Texas within a few years, if the EPA’s Cross-State Rule is implemented as written.

ERCOT’s May11 report to the Public Utility Commission on the impact of the proposed environmental regulations did not address the impact of SO2 restrictions on coal plants in ERCOT because these restrictions on Texas were not included as part of the EPA’s earlier rule proposal. We have not had time to fully analyze the entire 1,323-page Cross-State Rule released July 7 or to communicate with the generation owners regarding what their intentions will be. However, initial implications are that the SO2 requirements for Texas added at the last stage of the rule development will have a significant impact on coal generation, which provided 40 percent of the electricity consumed in ERCOT in 2010.

Our concern is that the timing of the new requirements – effective Jan. 1, 2012 – is unreasonable because it does not allow enough time to implement operational responses to ensure reliability. We fear that many of the coal plants in ERCOT will be forced to limit or shut down operations in order to maintain compliance with the new rule, possibly leading to inadequate operating reserve margins with insufficient time to reliably retrofit existing generation or build new, replacement generation.
The current administration is no friend of Texas, and I doubt that they anticipate getting any of Texas' electoral votes in the next presidential election.  This is pretty much an exercise in raw power.  "You have to do it because we tell you to", and a sop to their base.

And remember:

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