Today, the House passed H.R. 2042, the Ratepayer Protection Act, which included a bipartisan amendment from Congressman Huizenga (MI-02) and Congressman Kildee (MI-05) encouraging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to include the benefits of clean energy storage in their emissions calculation under the Clean Power Plan.
The EPA has proposed a rule that would penalize the State of Michigan for operating Ludington Pumped Storage. Michigan would have to count the energy used to fill the Ludington reservoir at night while giving no credit to the facility when it releases the stored water during the day to generate clean, emission free power. Ludington Pumped Storage has the ability to produce 1,872 megawatts of electricity, which is enough energy to provide power to 1.4 million Michigan residents. If the EPA fails to take into account the benefits of hydroelectric power as produced by Ludington Pumped Storage, Michigan residents will face higher electric rates and fewer energy options.
Below are Congressman Huizenga’s remarks as prepared as well as a link to his speech on the House floor. More information regarding Ludington Pumped Storage can be found here.
Congressman Huizenga (As Prepared):
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague, the gentleman from Kentucky, for bringing this important bill to the floor to empower states to protect consumers from higher electricity rates and to ensure grid reliability.
Under the Clean Power Plan, the EPA would set mandatory carbon dioxide emissions levels for each state and require that they submit state plans, to meet their EPA established “goals.” While I have many concerns with the proposed rule, I am offering this amendment to highlight how the EPA’s approach to calculating emissions actually discourages the kind of emission reductions they are intended to promote.
EPA’s compliance formula does not include a way to calculate the benefits of clean energy storage.
Michigan is a prime example of the importance of energy storage via the Ludington Pumped Storage reservoir located in West Michigan.
Ludington Pumped Storage was the largest pumped storage hydroelectric facility in the world when it was constructed. Its 842 acre reservoir is 2.5 miles long and holds 27 billion gallons of water. Ludington can generate up to 1,872 megawatts, which is enough electricity to serve a community of 1.4 million residential customers.
Here is how pumped storage works: At night, when electric demand is low, Ludington’s reversible turbines pump water 363 feet uphill from Lake Michigan to the reservoir. During the day, when electric demand is high, the reservoir releases water to flow downhill and turns the turbines to make carbon-free electricity.
In addition to being carbon free, there are also no other emissions from pumped storage generation.
Ironically, the proposed rule could penalize states like Michigan and Virginia that have prudently invested in energy storage technology because the emissions and megawatt hours from plants used to charge the storage system are included in the EPA’s equation. However, the megawatt hours discharged from the storage system are not.
Thus, according to the EPA, a state’s emissions intensity actually increases if they utilize clean energy storage.
This amendment simply encourages the EPA to explicitly authorize states to include clean energy storage in their compliance plans.
I encourage my colleagues to support this bipartisan amendment and the underlying bill so that states can best protect their residents from the significant economic and reliability impact the proposed rule could have.