Not satisfied with the economic devastation caused by his disastrous petroleum policies which have produced gasoline prices in excess of $4.00 a gallon, Obama is continuing full speed ahead with his plan to make electricity rates necessarily skyrocket. Obama’s had originally planned to achieve this result through cap and trade but, thankfully, that ill-conceived proposal has been shelved for the foreseeable future due in no small part to the tireless efforts of Governor Palin and others who saw the scheme for what it was: a sure way to lower U.S. living standards for, well, no reason at all. Unfortunately for the country, though, Obama is determined to lower our living standards anyway, and is attempting to achieve through regulatory fiat what he can’t through legislation. The effect of his policies on electricity rates will be as predictable as his refusal to drill for oil has had on gasoline prices, via Julie Wernau at the Chicago Tribune:
Consumers could see their electricity bills jump an estimated 40 to 60 percent in the next few years.
The reason: Pending environmental regulations will make coal-fired generating plants, which produce about half the nation’s electricity, more expensive to operate. Many are expected to be shuttered.
Don’t expect these increases to show up on your bills immediately, though, as the pain won’t be felt until, oddly, after the 2012 election:
The increases are expected to begin to appear in 2014, and policymakers already are scrambling to find cheap and reliable alternative power sources. If they are unsuccessful, consumers can expect further increases as more expensive forms of generation take on a greater share of the electricity load.
“Each generator will have to decide for itself whether the investment required to meet environmental requirements can be justified based on its projection of market prices and the cost of its capital. In any case, those costs will be passed through to consumers,” said Mark Pruitt, director of the Illinois Power Agency, which procures electricity for Illinois.
American Electric Power, one of the country’s largest coal-burning electricity generators, said Thursday it will retire nearly a quarter of its coal-fueled generating capacity and that it will spend up to $8 billion to retrofit remaining units to meet regulations that start taking effect in 2014. Those moves will have an impact.
“The sudden increase in electricity rates and impacts on state economies will be significant at a time when people and states are still struggling,” AEP Chairman and CEO Michael G. Morris said.
More hope and change in the Age of Obama. We have more recoverable fossil fuel resources than any nation on earth, including the world’s largest coal reserves (see image below), and Obama is trying to effectively put that off limits too. Fantastic.
If we’re to get out of the economic canyon into which Obama has driven us, we must develop the resources with which we’re so richly endowed and stop fantasizing about solar shingles and windmills which have no more chance of meeting our energy needs than rainbows and unicorns. Developing our abundant resources will not only lower energy costs across the board, but it will also put millions of Americans back to work at a time when Obamanomics has driven the real unemployment rate (U6) to the mid and upper teens and long-term unemployment to levels worse than the Great Depression. And for what? I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised, though. Obama did, after all, threaten financial ruin to those who utilize our most abundant resource to produce electricity back in 2008:
“If somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can — it’s just that it will bankrupt them”. Brilliant. Half of our nation’s electricity comes from coal, and Obama wants to bankrupt those who have the, er, audacity to continue producing electricity with this domestically abundant, proven, and economic resource. Obama’s energy “policy” is basically a policy of no energy: No electric, no oil, no nuclear, no natural gas, no anything that actually produces energy and doesn’t need massive government subsidies to stay afloat. Governor Palin is right: 2012 can’t come soon enough, and nobody is better positioned to expose Obama’s absurd energy policies than her. Certainly not the latest recipient of Kathleen Parker’s affection, Mitt Romney who, like Obama, is all for American going on an “energy diet”.
Exit question: Speaking of massive government subsidies to entice Americans to buy products that don’t work, how will Obama’s 40-60% increase in electricity rates affect sales of Government Motors’ Chevy Volt? As of March they had sold a whopping 928 cars in total. Surely skyrocketing electricity prices will help spur sales, right?
Update: Ed Morrissey’s commentary here.