If you like your electricity, you can keep your electricity. The White House announced the release of his “Clean Power Plan” late yesterday, which plans to cut carbon emissions from power plants in the US by 30%. Obama promised in his own message that this would result in lower energy prices, which sounds very similar to the promises made with ObamaCare — that later turned out to be the Lies of the Year once implemented:
The Obama administration on Monday will issue rules to cut carbon emissions from U.S. power plants, a move designed to secure the president’s legacy on climate and one which has already influenced the campaigns of those who want to succeed him.
The Environmental Protection Agency will finalize measures that promise to upend a century of electrical power generation, as it prods states and utilities to use less coal and more wind, solar and natural gas. The plan, estimated to cost $8.4 billion, is among the most complex in agency history and is expected to face a series of contentious legal challenges from states and coal producers.
Elements of the plan were released Sunday by the White House, ahead of the full roll-out. The rules are designed, in part, to put the U.S. on track to meet the goal President Barack Obama laid out as part of negotiations for a global accord on climate change. Those talks are set to conclude this at the Paris climate conference in December.
“It’s time for America, and the world, to act on climate change,” Obama said in a video message released on the White House Twitter feed.
The White House tweeted out a video message from the President on his new front in the War on Coal:
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 2, 2015
Compare this to Obama’s more honest assessment of the impact of capping carbon emissions in January 2008. Electricity prices would “necessarily skyrocket,” Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial board:
But what’s skyrocketing prices next to crafting a “legacy”? The Hill notes that Obama’s plan “doubles down” on climate change policy:
The Obama administration on Sunday unveiled a tougher climate change rule for power plants, demanding that generators cut their carbon dioxide output 32 percent in the first ever limits on the pollutant.
The historic regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the main pillar of President Obama’s climate agenda. It is the biggest piece of his drive to create a legacy and go down in history as the first United States president to take comprehensive action against climate change by cutting emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. …
Compared with the carbon limits the EPA proposed last year, the final rule is 9 percent more stringent than the 30 percent cut originally envisioned.
It delays the first round of carbon goals to 2022 from 2020, a move that the White House said would result in far more renewable energy like wind and solar and less natural gas replacing coal, which is currently the dominant fuel for electricity.
We’ve been chasing the renewables dragon for more than forty years now, and we’re no closer to having the capacity to replace coal than we have been. The Energy Information Administration shows coal playing a smaller role than five years ago, but it still accounts for 30% of all electricity — and it has been largely due to a rise in natural-gas production, not renewables. In May 2015, the EIA noted that the strategy to replace coal has focused on natural gas, not renewables, which still only account for a small fraction of electricity generated in the US.
Last month, the EIA noted that solar power only accounted for 0.8% of US electricity. They expect a 90% expansion of solar panels by the end of next year, which would then produce enough electricity to supply 1.5% of the country’s consumption. Even now, the use of renewables along with nuclear power account for only 16% of all electricity generated, and most of that comes from nuclear power. Two-thirds of our electricity comes from hydrocarbon sources, and at least half of that is coal.
The only way to “replace” coal with current or short-term-foreseeable technology, therefore, is to force coal out by regulation and impose a reduction in the consumption of electricity. That will indeed make prices “necessarily skyrocket,” and it will be the working- and middle-class families that bear the brunt of the massive costs it will create — not just in their utility bills, but across the board. Energy costs are a force multiplier in economies, impacting prices at every stage of distribution.
Get ready for another Politifact Lie of the Year, but we won’t get that ruling until Obama has long retired from office.