Some States facing blackouts under new US climate change rules

Posted: April 23, 2015 by oldbrew in climate, Energy, government, Uncertainty
Tags: ,

21st century seascape

21st century seascape

The New York Times reports the difficulties likely to face US power generation companies due to the pace of change demanded by the latest government rules and the ever-increasing reliance on part-time power sources scattered all over the place. Does this sound familiar at all?

WASHINGTON — As President Obama prepares to unveil his climate change regulations on coal-fired power plants, the nation’s electric utilities are preparing to transform the system that keeps the lights on in America. But some companies fear that in the process, the lights may go out.

This summer, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release a final set of rules aimed at forcing electric power companies — the nation’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions — to cut them 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. The Obama administration has consistently used 2005 as a baseline year for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The ambitious rules hope to remake the nation’s electricity system by closing hundreds of heavily polluting coal plants while rapidly expanding the use of natural gas plants, wind and solar power. Officials at electric utilities say that as they make that transition — taking the nation’s largest but dirtiest source of electricity offline and replacing it with a mix of cleaner power sources — they may face power failures.

“If the proposed rule stands the way it is, there will be blackouts,” said Nick Akins, the chief executive of American Electric Power, an electric utility that supplies power in 11 Midwestern states.

This week, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, a utility industry group, issued a report concluding that, as written, the proposed climate change rules could pose “a significant reliability challenge” to the nation’s power supply.

Full report: A Challenge From Climate Change Regulations –

  1. oldbrew says:

    The NYT also says: ‘States and coal companies are already challenging the rules in federal court, and if they are successful, the Obama regulations, as written, could fall apart. But that would not remove the legal requirement for the E.P.A. to regulate greenhouse gases, even under a future president.’

    Why EPA’s Climate Plan Is Unconstitutional – by Laurence H. Tribe, the Carl M. Loeb University Professor and a Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School

    [a lot of this is fairly technical but the title makes the main point]

    The Professor is basically arguing that the EPA doesn’t have the legal authority it is claiming in order to issue and enforce the new ‘climate rules’.

  2. Kit says:

    A few blackouts are needed to focus attention. Shivering in the dark makes people a bit testy about political BS.

  3. oldbrew says:

    UK wind power scraping along at 0.34 GW at the time of this comment, 0.93% of national output.

    Won’t keep many lights on. How many billions did those installations cost to set up?

  4. Joe Public says:

    OB – To complement your ’21st century seascape’ image, here’s a representative ’21st century landscape’ possibility …

  5. Curious George says:

    Dirty polluters dare to produce carbon dioxide, resulting in a greening of the Earth. Death to green plants! Only then we will have a green peace.

  6. smamarver says:

    As I said in my other reply, think twice before judging. And here’s a quote from an analysis on the offshore wind-parks topic: ” Several thousand offshore facilities on the bottom of the sea or anchored offshore rigs divert currents at sea and influence tides and currents as a permanent resistance against the normal flow of huge amounts of ocean water.The result is like stirring hot soup. Warm water will come to the surface and the heat will supply the atmosphere with warmth. The air will become warmer and the winters will be milder. The correlation is not to be
    overseen. It is not relevant to climate research or agencies allowing offshore structures who do not consider such evaluations.” (

  7. ivan says:

    smamarver, There is one very large problem with your quote Warm water will come to the surface and the heat will supply the atmosphere with warmth The top layer of the sea is warmer than further down – there is no heat hiding in the deep oceans to be brought to the surface.

  8. AlecM says:

    When anyone can prove to me by calorimetry (it’s easy in principle, just use a water trough with a gold-sputtered mylar foil lower reflector, a clingfilm cover to prevent evaporation, and a data-logger to follow imaginary temperature change) that ‘back radiation’ is a real energy flux instead of the Atmosphere’s Radiant Exitance, I’ll be willing to accept the concept of the Enhanced GHE.

    Otherwise, wake me up when the last of these charlatans collects his or her P45 and a place on a McDonald’s Degree Course in chip frying…….:o)

    [mod note] P45:

  9. E.M.Smith says:


    The troposphere blocks backradiation.

    Buy a Honda generator and put a 300 W inverter in the car (about $30). Gets you through most things. Worked for the rolling blackouts in California under Dimocrat Grey (out) Davis. And yes it “focused the mind” and we had a successful recall election. But it was long enough ago the present politicians have forgotten that noose…