Delay Urged in Obama Carbon Rules to Shield Electric Grid

Nov. 5 (Bloomberg) — The Obama administration’s plan to
cut carbon emissions threatens the nation’s electricity supply
by forcing old coal plants to shut before replacement power is
in place, the group that oversees the U.S. electric system said.

The North American Electric Reliability Corp., a nonprofit
that assures adequate voltage and power reserves to keep the
electric grid functioning, urged the Environmental Protection
Agency to consider delaying the first deadline.

“The proposed timeline does not provide enough time to
develop sufficient resources to ensure continued reliable
operation of the electric grid by 2020,” according to the
report from the utility-funded regulator scheduled for release
today. “More time for implementation may be needed to
accommodate reliability enhancements.”

President Barack Obama’s plan to combat global warming is
built around the EPA’s carbon plan, which would require a 30
percent cut in emissions by 2030. The plan is designed to
replace coal as the chief source for electricity generation with
increased use of natural gas, renewable power and energy
efficiency measures.

The emissions plan will have wide-ranging effects on
utilities, forcing changes that will upend models used for a
century for generation and distribution of electricity.

Time Needed

The 27-page report NERC released today warned that reducing
coal in generation means utilities need to build pipelines to
plants using gas to make electricity. The EPA is also overly
optimistic about the potential for renewable energy and energy
efficiency measures, it said.

“Based on NERC’s initial review, more time would be needed
in certain areas to ensure resource adequacy, reliability
requirements, and infrastructure needs are maintained,” the
report said.

The EPA said that 40 years of clean-air actions have come
without any instances of causing the lights to go out.

EPA’s analysis “finds that the proposal would not raise
significant concerns over regional resource adequacy or raise
the potential for interregional grid problems,” according to an
e-mailed statement. “EPA is also continuing to seek ideas and
comments on the proposal as we work toward a final rule that is
flexible and empowers states to chart their own, customized
path.”

To contact the reporter on this story:
Mark Drajem in Washington at
mdrajem@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Jon Morgan at
jmorgan97@bloomberg.net
Steve Geimann

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