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Robert Romano - NetRightDaily
February 28, 2014
“There is the possibility of some brownouts.”
That was U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith’s (R-Va.) take on the impact of recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations against coal burning power plants in a brief conversation with Americans for Limited Government on February 27.
Rep. Griffith said in his district alone based in southwestern rural Virginia, Appalachian Power Co. was closing two coal-burning power plants, only one of which would be replaced by a natural gas facility. But with a big downside — it would not produce as much electricity as the coal plant once did.
Griffith’s story in Virginia is emblematic of what is happening nationally to America’s shrinking electric grid.
Consider that coal as a percent of the net electricity generation has dropped from 49 percent in 2007 to 37 percent in 2012, according to the Energy Information Agency (EIA). For now, this is being partially offset by increases in natural gas.
But, that actually represents a smaller piece of a smaller pie, EIA data shows. While natural gas has increased electricity production by 330 billion kilowatthours (kWh) to 1.132 trillion kWh a year in 2012, coal production has dropped by 498 billion kWh to 1.5 trillion kWh.