Time for Biden to fire up the coal plants
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022
Joe Biden dropped the ball on U.S. energy security from Day One of his presidency, when he canceled the Keystone XL pipeline permit that would have brought as much as 900,000 barrels of crude oil into the U.S. system.
He could not have anticipated the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but in banning U.S. imports of petroleum, coal and natural gas from Russia in response to it, he had to have at least had an inkling on its effect on gas prices here.
What was Biden’s backup plan as prices soared at the pump? Blame the oil companies, blame Putin, blame everyone but his own administration’s anti-fossil fuel agenda.
Now he is “considering” a federal gas tax holiday, which would knock 18 cents a gallon off the pump price. That would save the average driver about $3 per fill up. With a full tank costing about $70, that is so inadequate an assist to American consumers as to border on insult.
How do you shore up our energy independence so that the country can readily cope with events such as the war in Ukraine without drilling for oil here or approving pipelines to carry crude from Canada?
However, while the ship of self-sufficiency may have been scuttled by Biden, the president has an opportunity to help consumers going forward. He just has to defy the Green New Deal agenda to do it.
U.S. natural gas prices are on the upswing, according to industry experts, while our supplies don’t appear ready to keep pace with demand.
As Bloomberg reported, stockpiles of the heating and power-plant fuel are below normal for this time of year as exports are booming, and output from shale basins is muted. Traders anticipate higher-than-usual gas needs this summer to fuel US power plants as consumers and businesses crank up air conditioners to combat hotter weather. Meanwhile, hydro-power generation and coal supplies are severely constrained, leaving limited alternatives to gas.
Europe is in a full-blown energy crisis without oil imports from Russia, and several nations are taking the bull by the horns — they’re reverting to coal power.
As Fox Business reported, “The cabinet has decided to immediately withdraw the restriction on production for coal-fired power stations from 2002 to 2024,” Dutch climate and energy minister Rob Jetten told reporters, adding that the decision had been made in preparation with other European countries.
The government had been phasing out the use of coal to generate power by allowing coal-fired power stations to operate only to a maximum 35% of their capacity in recent years as it aims to transition to sustainable energy to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
“The risk of doing nothing is too great,” Jetten said
Austria, Germany, and Italy have all signaled that coal-fired power plants could provide a short-term solution given Europe’s heavy reliance on Russian energy.
The U.S. policy toward coal plants is that they can’t shut down fast enough. They are cardinal sinners in environmentalists’ books. But right now, given the demand for power that’s coming down the pike with hot weather, a way to save natural gas supplies by a return to coal makes sense.
This has the makings of a long, hot, expensive summer. Biden has the chance to do something practical to alleviate some of our energy problems.
As Jetten said, the risk of doing nothing is too great.