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EPA Emission Rules Threaten To Shut Down Power Grid For Millions

President Joe Biden’s climate agenda is likely to deliver blackouts for millions, according to a North Dakota state assessment of EPA rules.


President Joe Biden’s climate agenda is likely to deliver blackouts for millions, according to a North Dakota state assessment of new rules finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In May, the North Dakota Transmission Authority published a report with the firm Always On Energy Research examining implications of the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations on the state’s power grid.

The EPA’s strict emissions standards, researchers reported, “is not technologically feasible for lignite-based power generation facilities.” State investigators say the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Rule, finalized this spring, will force the premature retirement of reliable coal plants so they can be replaced by intermittent, weather-dependent sources such as wind and solar.

“Replacing the retired coal, natural gas, and nuclear units,” investigators said, “with the new wind, solar, battery storage, and natural gas facilities would cost an additional $381.9 billion through 2055 compared to the current operating costs of the existing fleet.”

“We determined the closure of lignite-fired powered plants,” they added, “would increase the severity of projected future capacity shortfalls, i.e. rolling blackouts.”

Larry Behrens, the communications director for the energy non-profit Power the Future, called less power and higher energy prices “two guarantees of Joe Biden’s energy failures.”

“Sadly, the threat of blackouts is the logical result of efforts to destroy reliable energy sources in favor of intermittent wind and solar,” Behrens told The Federalist.

The North Dakota state findings corroborate warnings issued by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) 2024 Summer Reliability Assessment published last month. The Atlanta-based non-profit cautioned that the power grid will face extreme stress under higher-than-average temperatures expected this summer.

“Demand is growing in many areas at a rapid pace with the adoption of electric vehicles and construction of new data centers, straining parts of the system,” NERC reported.

Alex Epstein, the author of Fossil Future: Why Global Human Flourishing Requires More Oil, Coal, and Natural Gas–Not Less, explained in a post on X that Silicon Valley’s tech giants developing artificial intelligence tools are threatening to overwhelm a power grid increasingly reliant on wind and solar.

“To function at its potential, AI requires massive amounts of power. E.g., state-of-the-art data centers can require as much electricity as a large nuclear reactor,” Epstein wrote. “Electricity demand from US data centers already doubled between 2014 and 2023. Now with the fast growth of energy-hungry AI, demand from data centers could triple from 2.5% to 7.5% of our electricity use by 2030, according to Boston Consulting Group.”

In 2022, California regulators pled with residents not to charge their electric cars while the state’s electrical infrastructure struggled to cope with a summer heat wave.

“The top three conservation actions are to set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, avoid using large appliances and charging electric vehicles, and turn off unnecessary lights,” read a heat bulletin from the California Independent System Operator.

The request arrived just after the California Air Resources Board delivered new regulations to ban gasoline-powered car sales by 2035.

While the Biden administration hinges the reliability of the power grid on wind and solar, the Department of Energy reported in April that turbine generation declined last year despite increased capacity. Wind power is now responsible for roughly 10 percent of the U.S. electricity mix after representing less than 1 percent of total output in 1990.

Despite the disruptions to the power supply presented by intermittent renewables, the Biden administration has doubled down on an aggressive climate agenda as the president seeks a second term. In May, the White House delivered the administration’s largest attack on American coal yet, with a ban on new leases in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, the nation’s most productive stretch of coal reserves. Rep. Harriet Hageman, R-Wyo., said the Biden administration’s decision to “eviscerate Wyoming’s coal production will impact every American’s access to affordable and reliable energy.”

The prohibition on new coal leases follows the Department of the Interior (DOI) imposing “maximum protections” for 13 million acres in the western Arctic from resource development. President Biden’s electric car mandates, meanwhile, leave vehicle manufacturing supply chains dependent on China for critical minerals.

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