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Can you afford a triple-digit increase in your electric bill?

June 3, 2014

OK, so we effectively close down a large percentage of the remaining fossil-fuel powered electricity generating plants. What then?

The newest executive order does not prohibit the use of coal for power generation. It does increase the cost of converting the plants to the more favorable but still pollution-causing natural gas, or other alternative fuels such as biomass. That makes the conversion economically unfeasible for many plant operators, accomplishing the same end as banning them outright.

Like all utopia-based theories, this regulation will have real-world consequences.

The goal of the new regulation is reported by the Washington Post  to be to  “…provide an impetus for energy-efficiency measures to flatten out or lower electricity consumption.”

This regulation is not intended to make energy cleaner. It is about doing away with its use entirely at some level, and that level will be those who can’t afford to use it at higher prices.

If people can’t afford it, that will certainly lower their personal energy consumption, ultimately hurting the lower-income population the administration claims to care so much about.

 Beyond that, there could be other consequences.

One consequence is the countries that believe they should be entitled to use coal  and other so-called “dirty” fuels because they are “developing” will prosper, and the “environmentally responsible” nations will decline. It hardly seems a coincidence that Russia and China just inked a 30-year deal to lock up a large chunk of the natural gas that could potentially flow to Europe.

For several years, if not decades, the environmentalist movement has been trying to shut down power generation sources in the U.S that don’t meet their standards.

Prohibiting the use of wood stoves, banning fireworks, the forced  retirement of existing power plants, blowing up dams and carbon taxes are not going to save the planet, because the United States is not the planet.

If there was an economically viable alternative to oil, coal and natural gas as ways to power our vehicles and power grids there might be some merit to the argument against fossil fuels.

In spite of all the hype about alternative fuels there is not now, nor will there ever be enough corn, switchgrass or other combustible biomass fuels to replace fossil fuels. At best, these alternatives seem to be a way to augment and diversify energy resources, not replace them.

Solar and wind energy might be theoretically able to do it, but so far no one has figured out how to make them universally available and economically viable on a national scale, and certainly not by 2030.

Since that magical alternative-fuel replacement does not exist at present, and may never exist, the obvious next best strategy is to make using fossil fuels so expensive that most people and businesses can’t afford to use them, a strategy that has been front-and-center throughout the current administration’s reign. As early as 2008,  President Obama, then candidate Obama, publicly declared that electricity rates and gas prices would skyrocket under his vision for change in America.

The goal of $5.00/gal gasoline has been reached at least briefly several times in the past few years, and the average price of regular gas has settled fairly close to one-third higher than it was in 2008. Taking the coal-fired plants offline is the next step.

Just the mere hint that electricity rates could double or triple as aging coal-fired plants shut down has re-energized the green energy “investment” climate, and that is sure to be reflected in a renewed flood of government grants financed by our American tax dollars for that industry.

All of that seems poised to further restrict economic growth in our country, which is already barely limping along. Although there always seems to be a somewhat miraculous revision of the numbers when they appear to be unfavorable, it is hardly likely that the economy will hit the robust 4% needed to actually signify real growth. No growth, no jobs, no paychecks equals no money to pay the power bill.

Many feel that may have been the idea all along. If you believe that America should be but an invisible cog in a global gear train, attacking the energy sector is a great way to do it.

We’re the dummies that keep allowing this. It remains to be seen whether we have the will to stop it. 

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