There have been several reports of late that reveal that new regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency will cause utility providers to shut down a number of coal-fired power plants.
It is time to look at the history of the thuggish tactics that have been utilized by the EPA in promoting a “green” energy agenda, specifically during the Clinton/Gore administration.
A press release from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dated November 3, 1999 reported “U.S. SUES ELECTRIC UTILITIES IN UNPRECEDENTED ACTION TO ENFORCE THE CLEAN AIR ACT”. The release states that “seven separate suits allege that the electric utility companies — American Electric Power, Cinergy, FirstEnergy, Illinois Power, Southern Indiana Gas & Electric Company, Southern Company, Tampa Electric Company — or their subsidiaries, and the TVA , violated the Clean Air Act by making major modifications to many of their plants without installing the equipment required to control smog, acid rain and soot.”
In Florida, Tampa Electric Company (TECO) was the first utility in the country to reach a settlement agreement with the EPA and the Department of Justice. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, as outlined in a statement from then EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner, Tampa Electric Company agreed to pay $3.5 million in civil penalties, along with another “$10 million for environmentally beneficial projects designed to mitigate the impact of their pollution.” The entire Consent Decree can be viewed here.
Tampa Electric Company's website declares that in 1999 they were “the first utility in the nation to develop a plan with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address its coal-fired utility initiative.”
Questioned about the connection between Tampa Electric Company’s website statement regarding their cooperation with the EPA to develop a plan and the announced settlement with the EPA and DOJ, a source inside the industry replied “Do you mean did they hold a gun to their head? Absolutely!”
In addition, in 2004 TECO joined the Chicago Climate Exchange. “CCX emitting members make a voluntary but legally binding commitment to meet annual GHG emission reduction targets. Those who reduce below the targets have surplus allowances to sell or bank; those who emit above the targets comply by purchasing CCX Carbon Financial Instrument (CFI™) contracts.” TECO has been purchasing carbon permits since 2004. In 2010 Chicago Climate Exchange was closed and carbon exchanges are now being traded through Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).
In compliance with the EPA and DOJ settlement agreement, for the past 10+ years Tampa Electric Company has been implementing their renewable energy commitments through several alternative energy projects. A recent project entails installing photo-voltaic solar panels at Centennial Middle School in Dade City, Florida. An earlier article, Is California Dreaming shows that according to the federal government's Energy Information Administration the cost to produce photo-voltaic solar energy is nearly five times the cost of conventional coal power.
A reader interested in seeing what the EPA has been up to in pursuing lawsuits and settlements for violations of its Clean Air and Clean Water regulations can view a list of cases and settlements here. The EPA has become a lawless agency that is forcing people and companies to defend their property and businesses from having to comply with onerous regulations, some to the point of bankruptcy.
Tampa Electric Company is also in the process of installing digital AMR (Automatic Meter Reading) “smart meters” in certain areas of Tampa. This will allow for remote meter reading instead of having to send a meter reader out to your home. What appears to be a great advancement in electric meter technology will allow for your home to ultimately be connected to the “smart grid”. Mission Point Capital Partners, “a private investment firm established by Mark Schwartz, former President and Chief Executive Officer of Soros Fund Management and former Chairman of Goldman Sachs (Asia); Jesse M. Fink, co-founder and former Chief Operating Officer of priceline.com; and Mark J. Cirilli, former Chief Investment Officer of Marshall Street Management”, explains “The Smart Grid is a collection of energy control and monitoring devices, software, networking and communications infrastructure that are installed in homes, businesses, and throughout the electricity distribution grid. This collective system provides a “nervous system” for the grid and for customers that provides the ability to monitor and control energy consumption comprehensively in real time. Think of it as the Internet for Energy.”
In addition “Smart meters and other smart grid technologies… are designed with this ability, and they can provide the infrastructure that will support the implementation of responsible climate change policy.”
Smart thermostats, smart meters and the smart grid provide the utility with the ability to monitor energy consumption throughout the country. These devices will enable you to regulate your use of electricity and turn it on and off at your discretion, but also gives them the ability to regulate your electricity use.
The goal of implementing responsible climate change policy will come at a tremendous cost to the energy consumer and benefit those involved in producing and installing these devices as well as those involved in the carbon emissions permit exchange market. The utilities are being incentivized by the government to encourage you to install smart thermostats and meters that will eventually tie all of us into the smart grid, where our electricity use can be monitored and controlled remotely.
During his presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama said that under his plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket. As utility companies across the country continue to comply with the strong arm demands of the EPA to provide a greater percentage of energy to its customers using renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind, we will see a substantial increase in our electric bills.
When his cap and trade bill stalled in the Senate, John Kerry (D-MA) issued a statement “Today we went from ‘wake-up call’ to ‘last call’ on the urgency of Senate action on comprehensive energy and climate legislation. The Obama Administration has again reminded Washington that if Congress won’t legislate, the EPA will regulate.” That is exactly what they are doing.
The video in this article explains what allowing a smart meter to be installed in your home means to you, the energy consumer.