Electric Co-ops: EPA’s Power Plant Proposal Would Further Jeopardize Reliability

ARLINGTON, Va. – National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) CEO Jim Matheson today issued the following statement in response to EPA’s latest proposed rule to regulate power plant emissions.

“This proposal will further strain America’s electric grid and undermine decades of work to reliably keep the lights on across the nation,” Matheson said. “And it is just the latest instance of EPA failing to prioritize reliable electricity as a fundamental expectation of American consumers. We’re concerned the proposal could disrupt domestic energy security, force critical always available power plants into early retirement, and make new natural gas plants exceedingly difficult to permit, site, and build.

“Nine states experienced rolling blackouts last December as the demand for electricity exceeded the available supply. Those situations will become even more frequent if EPA continues to craft rules without any apparent consideration of impacts on electric grid reliability. American families and businesses rightfully expect the lights to stay on at a price they can afford. EPA needs to recognize the impact this proposal will have on the future of reliable energy before it’s too late.”  

Five issues are currently impacting the reliable delivery of electricity across the nation. They include:

  • Increasing demand for electricity as other sectors of the economy are electrified.
  • Decreasing electricity supply due to the disorderly retirement and insufficient replacement of existing generation.
  • Permitting delays that prevent new electric infrastructure from being built and connected to the grid.
  • Supply chain challenges.
  • Problems with natural gas availability.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national trade association representing nearly 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape. As local businesses built by the consumers they serve, electric cooperatives have meaningful ties to rural America and invest $12 billion annually in their communities.