NMA - National Mining Association

04/11/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/11/2024 08:01

New Paper Highlights the Collision of Surging Electricity Demand with EPA’s Grid Reliability Crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Surging demand for electricity is colliding with rapidly eroding grid reliability and projected power supply shortfalls driven by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) regulatory agenda, the National Mining Association (NMA) highlighted in a new white paper issued today. The paper also found that as coal plant retirements accelerate due to the cumulative impact of EPA's agenda, new renewable energy and interstate transmission additions aren't materializing to reliably meet existing or expected power demand.

"This paper clearly shows America's electricity reality: our ability to keep the lights on now and in the future is in the hands of an agency unwilling to grapple with the facts on the ground and recognize the danger posed by its agenda," said Rich Nolan, NMA president and CEO. "Surging power demand is here, and despite repeated warnings by electricity grid operators, utilities, electric co-ops and the nation's energy reliability regulators that we are already in a power supply crisis, EPA is doubling down."

Specific challenges raised in the paper include:

  • Power Demand is Soaring. Power demand is surging due to the rapid growth of data centers, artificial intelligence, the reshoring of heavy industry and electrification of the economy. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), which oversees the reliability of the nation's grid, reported in December that "key measures of future electricity demand and energy needs are rising faster than at any time in recent years, adding to future resource adequacy concerns at a time of unprecedented transformation in the industry."
  • Power Supply is Under Siege. NERC warned in its Long-Term Reliability Assessment that the planned retirement of 83 GW of fossil and nuclear generation over the next decade creates blackout risks for much of the country. The grid monitor also noted that another 30 GW of capacity is expected to close but the plans aren't yet final.
  • EPA is Charging Ahead. The EPA is using a suite of rules to force the accelerated retirement of the majority of the nation's coal fleet by 2032. Despite repeated warnings from the nation's electricity providers and energy reliability regulators that its agenda poses a direct threat to grid reliability, EPA remains committed to accelerating coal plant retirements.
  • New Capacity and Infrastructure Are Not Materializing at Scale. New additions of intermittent renewable energy and high-voltage, interstate transmission lines are not materializing at the speed and scale required to replace dispatchable baseload power plant losses, much less meet rapidly rising power demand. Nationwide, just 251 miles of high-voltage transmission lines were completed last year, a number that has steadily fallen for a decade.
  • Natural Gas is a Reliability Liability. While the flexibility of the natural gas fleet is critically important to balancing the variability of intermittent renewable generation, the gas system - from wellhead to power plant - has proven to be extraordinarily susceptible and unreliable during bitter cold.

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