PACE in National Journal: Nation Needs Diversity Among Energy Sources

EPA Admits Jobs Don’t Matter
April 15, 2011
Rare Earths Pose Threat to American Energy Independence
May 3, 2011

Foreword: In states across the Southeast, thousands of our neighbors have lost their loved ones, their homes, and their power. Our thoughts, like the thoughts of so many others across the nation, are with those hurting and grieving today. As the recovery process begins, PACE will continue to disseminate information through Twitter about the effect of the storms on electrical systems. Those who are interested in helping victims can also text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to give $10 for relief efforts.

Today’s edition of the National Journal posed the question, “What Role Should Natural Gas Play in America’s Energy Mix?” Below is PACE’s response.

In the wake of Pennsylvania’s natural gas well explosion, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already begun examining what went wrong and what potential effect the spill will ultimately have on the surrounding environment. It’s unfortunate when accidents of this nature occur, but I would encourage the EPA, Congress and the Administration not to rush to action and move to implement more regulations within the energy sector without in-depth analysis to better understand how they would affect energy reliability, jobs, and the economy. This seems to be standard practice for the EPA: implementing burdensome and unreasonable mandates on energy generators with no consideration of the economic consequences for energy consumers. A study by the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) found recent Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) utility regulations will not only affect the reliability of the energy grid, but will also affect energy cost because as the power companies are required to spend the $300 billion needed to comply with the regulations, the cost will be passed on to the consumers.

While we can all agree that it’s important to integrate cleaner, renewable sources of energy into the grid, it’s equally important to consider the economic consequences of rushing to achieve these goals. Recently, I have noticed a trend of implementing costly regulations that will destroy some of our most abundant, affordable, and reliable sources of energy while threatening jobs and the economy. Artificially limiting demand will also be a de-facto leg up to many of our international manufacturing competitor nations – an additional advantage that they don’t need.

At a time when America’s energy demand is only increasing, it’s important to recognize the need for a diverse set of energy resources. Just as natural gas is valuable to the reliability of the energy grid, so are coal, oil, wind, solar, hydropower, biofuels, and nuclear power. There is no cure all energy solution without risks of interruption. These sources should all work in tandem with one another to ensure that when one energy source fails, there are others to back it up. America needs a steady and affordable supply of base-load power. It would be irresponsible to begin relying exclusively on one energy source over another, particularly through layers of government mandates designed to force specific energy generators to shut down.

I would encourage Congress and the Administration to consider the implications on the economy and the energy grid before placing further burdens on the energy sector, particularly as it relates to our most reliable energy sources.