(ConcernedPatriot.com) – A power grid operator is sounding the alarm over the impending closure of a significant coal plant due to green agenda initiatives.
The coal plant serves millions of Americans in the mid-Atlantic region.
The DC and all or parts of 13 states and the PJM Interconnection, which manages wholesale electricity flow, warn that the scheduled shutdown of a coal-fired power plant will seriously threaten the electricity supply.
The 65 million-customer power grid operator issues a warning, stating that blackouts may happen before the startup of new power sources.
According to PJM Interconnection, the region’s grid dependability will be impacted by the impending closure of the coal-fired Brandon Shores power station, which is situated outside of Baltimore.
As part of an agreement with the left-leaning environmental organization Sierra Club, the plant’s operator, Texas-based Talen Energy, plans to deactivate the facility in June 2025.
“There has been a strong push for quite some time to get coal power out of Maryland,” Christopher Summers, the founder and president of the Maryland Public Policy Institute, said in a statement.
“In this accelerated timeline of exiting from coal-fired power plants in the coming 12 to 24 months, I think it’s going to create a major reliability concern for the state.”
“The loss of power poses a real danger to the well-being and livelihoods of Maryland families and businesses,” Summers said.
“Until these current risks to our grid are fully dealt with, it’s a mistake to close reliable, baseload power plants too soon. That should be a concern to consumers in Maryland and businesses in Maryland that rely on dependable power.”
2020 saw the announcement by Talen Energy that it and Sierra Club had come to a deal to close Brandon Shores and two other significant coal-fired power plants in the area.
The decision was made in return for a commitment by the Sierra Club to forgo further legal action or disagreements over permits about coal at Talen Energy’s “transitioning sites.”
According to Talen Energy’s then-CEO Ralph Alexander, the move was a component of the company’s shift to green energy and its larger future focused on environmental, social, and governance (ESG).
The corporation intends to completely phase out the use of coal in its wholly-owned power facilities by its present far-left ESG commitments.
Prematurely closing down Brandon Shores, which has a capacity of 1,295 megawatts or more than a million homes, would cause an imbalance in the system, according to PJM Interconnection.
The regional grid operator must redirect electricity generated elsewhere to shut down such an essential power source.
Still, Maryland transmission upgrades won’t be completed for another three years, until 2028, following the scheduled shutdown of Brandon Shores.
“The PJM region and the state of Maryland are facing future reliability challenges as a result of the announced retirement of the Brandon Shores units,” said Jeff Shields, a spokesperson for PJM Interconnection.
“Specifically, PJM analyses showed that the deactivation of the Brandon Shores units would cause severe voltage drop and thermal violations across seven PJM zones, which could lead to widespread reliability risks in Baltimore and the immediate surrounding areas.”
“Therefore, there is an urgent need to upgrade the transmission system in order to maintain reliability and the flow of power to the 65 million people we serve,” Shields said.
“The chosen transmission solutions include in-service estimates in the 2027-2028 timeframe.”
Due to the short lead time, PJM has asked that Brandon Shores continue to operate under a “Reliability Must-Run Agreement” through 2028 or until transmission modifications are finished.
Shields pointed out that such an agreement cannot proceed due to Talen Energy’s agreement with Sierra Club.
Furthermore, Talen Energy finally abandoned its plan to convert Brandon Shores to a different, less polluting fuel source. It shut down the facility entirely, which may raise more reliability issues in the future.
PJM and Talen Energy stated they are in talks with the Sierra Club and Maryland state representatives to find a solution.
“Talen is currently in discussions with PJM and others regarding the reliability issue claimed by PJM,” Talen Energy spokesperson Taryne Williams said.
“We are always mindful of regional electric system reliability and how it relates to electricity consumers in Maryland,” stated Maryland Public Service Commission spokesperson Tori Leonard.
Leonard pointed out that PJM is in charge of running the regional transmission grid dependably.
To thwart the Brandon Shores shutdown, PJM proposed an emergency plan for transmission enhancements worth up to $800 million, which was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) earlier this month.
On November 8, FERC Commissioner Mark Christie stated that the shutdown might result in “severe voltage collapse in Baltimore and the surrounding zones, including Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia, Delaware, and southeastern Pennsylvania” and that this would be “potentially catastrophic” if proper upgrades were not made.
“Closing an efficient, low-cost energy-producing plant like Brandon Shores is just one more way America is surrendering our energy advantage to China and Russia,” Rep. Andy Harris, the sole Republican member of Maryland’s congressional delegation, said in a statement.
“It is foolish to think that anything will come of this short-sighted energy policy, cooked up by the out-of-touch liberals who run Maryland, other than even more expensive electricity bills for hard-working, over-taxed Maryland families,” he said.
Maryland has pursued some of the country’s most ambitious sustainable energy goals.
The Climate Solutions Now Act, passed by the state last year, is a component of that plan and mandates that Maryland attain a “net zero” carbon emissions standard by 2045.
Governor Wes Moore, a Democrat who took office in January, has demanded that by 2035, the state’s electrical grid run entirely on renewable energy.
He says this may be accomplished by reducing energy use and “supercharging investments” in solar and wind energy technologies.
“Governor Moore remains committed to a vision for Maryland’s future that includes 100 percent clean energy — a commitment that will bring countless jobs and hundreds of millions in economic investment across the state,” Moore’s spokesperson Carter Elliott said.
“Earlier this year, the governor was proud to sign the POWER Act and partner with Orsted to announce Maryland’s First Offshore Wind Turbine Component Center at Tradepoint Atlantic.”
“Orsted’s projects will support the creation of thousands of jobs in Maryland, power nearly 300,000 homes with renewable energy, and help the state achieve its goals of 8.5 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2031.
“At every opportunity, the governor has worked aggressively to help Maryland meet its energy goals, and he will continue to lead the state with that goal at the top of mind while maintaining grid reliability and protecting ratepayers.”
— Last Call (@LastCallCNBC) July 28, 2023
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