A Word from Our CEO
The holiday season is here, which means it is time to celebrate, give gifts and enjoy our family and friends. Traditionally, our message to you at this time of year is a simple one as we thank you for allowing us to serve you and wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We certainly wish that for you this year, but we have more that we need to share with you. And we cannot afford to wait.
In the new year ahead, we expect to face one of the most important issues in the history of our nation’s electric grid – proposed environmental regulations that could very well lead to the closure of power plants that provide a major portion of our nation’s electricity. This is no “Chicken Little” threat. Unfortunately, it is very real and that is why we feel we need to ask for your help now, even as you are celebrating with your families.
In September, the Obama Administration officially abandoned an all-of-the-above energy strategy for a new, all-but-one approach that effectively removes coal from the nation’s fuel mix in the future. The policy, proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sets stringent limits on carbon dioxide emissions from future coal or natural gas plants. Next year, the EPA is set to issue proposed new rules that will limit carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal and natural gas plants. It is easy to place limits on the emissions, but it will be impossible for most of the plants to meet them. That’s because the technology to meet these limits is not ready for prime time.
For several years cooperatives have tested carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, the technology doesn’t make financial sense. It has never been used at a commercial scale at a power plant over a prolonged period to demonstrate its viability or cost. In a 2012 Congressional Budget Office report, engineers estimated it would increase the cost of producing electricity from coal-based plants by 75 percent.
The Administration’s switch to an all-but-one energy approach would limit Americans’ access to a plentiful and affordable resource. We don’t think we should gamble with the economic well-being of future generations and our nation's economy. Already worried about making ends meet, many of our co-op members cannot afford the significant increases in electric bills that this policy would trigger.
Historically, the price of coal remains affordable and relatively stable. The U.S. Energy Information Agency reports the United States has 236 years remaining of recoverable coal reserves. Coal generates 37 percent of the nation’s electricity—our biggest energy source by far.
Please stand with us as we fight to keep electric bills affordable. Here is a simple way to do it. Visit the Cooperative Action Network at www.action.coop. There is a link there that will allow you to tell the EPA that we need an all-of-the-above energy strategy. We thank you for your help with this most important issue.
Brian Duncan, CEO
Craighead Electric Cooperative