It’s only a small matter of time until the Obama administration finally, rapturously releases what its hopes will be the crown jewel of its rise-of-the-oceans-slowing climate-change agenda: Regulations capping the emissions from existing power plants, a.k.a., stamping out coal plants across the country. This set of regs is going to be even more complicated and controversial than the regulations for only new power plants the administration released last year, and as the AP obliquely explains, we’re likely to start seeing those “necessarily skyrocketing” energy prices Obama once mentioned pretty quickly here:

Electricity prices are probably on their way up across much of the U.S. as coal-fired plants, the dominant source of cheap power, shut down in response to environmental regulations and economic forces.

New and tighter pollution rules and tough competition from cleaner sources such as natural gas, wind and solar will lead to the closings of dozens of coal-burning plants across 20 states over the next three years. And many of those that stay open will need expensive retrofits.

Because of these and other factors, the Energy Department predicts retail power prices will rise 4 percent on average this year, the biggest increase since 2008. By 2020, prices are expected to climb an additional 13 percent, a forecast that does not include the costs of coming environmental rules.

The Obama administration, state governments and industry are struggling to balance this push for a cleaner environment with the need to keep the grid reliable and prevent prices from rocketing too much higher.

“Tough competition” from wind and solar? …That’s cute. Our egregiously subsidized wind and solar industries account for about 4 percent of our electricity generation and are terribly unreliable (just ask Germany, which has lately had to bring more coal plants online to make up for their faulty renewables), while coal still provides around 40 percent of our electricity and is the most reliable mass source we have. Natural gas is great with its cleaner-burning emissions, coming in with the really stiff competition at around 30 percent, but it has some infrastructural issues that are currently keeping it at second place in terms of reliability. Make no mistake — the Obama administration swooping in with major regs that deeply affect 40 percent of our electricity generation is going to take its economic toll, and 45 senators  — Democrats and Republicans included — would like the Obama administration to step back for a second a perhaps more deeply consider that toll. Via The Hill:

Forty-five senators are pressing the Environmental Protection Agency to delay new rules on limiting carbon emissions from power plants. …

The senators are pressuring the EPA to set a 120-day comment period rather than the standard 60-day comment period. That would double the normal allotted for industry, consumers, businesses, and states to give their two cents on the rule.

Fifteen Democrats signed the letter, including the four seen as most vulnerable in the midterm elections: Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.), Mark Warner (Va), Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Mark Begich (Alaska). …

“Affordable, reliable, and redundant sources of electricity are essential to the economic well-being of our states and the quality of life of our constituents,” the letter to EPA chief Gina McCarthy said.

“While we all agree that clean air is vitally important, EPA has an obligation to understand the impacts that regulations have on all segments of society,” it said.