Kumar Barve’s Plan to bring California’s Blackouts to Maryland

Delegate Kumar Barve has come up with yet another really bad idea. Barve wants to immediately close each of the remaining six coal-fired power plants across Maryland, reports the Post’s Erin Cox.

Barve’s idea is buttressed by a new Sierra Club poll that shows 70% of Maryland residents support the idea. My guess, however, is that neither Barve nor the poll respondents really understand what such an immediate cessation of using coal-fired plants would mean.

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The six remaining coal-fired power plants would take 4,665 MW of electricity generation offline. That’s a not-insignificant amount of the power generated across Maryland.

The chart below shows the total generating power of each of Maryland’s power plants.

Name Type Capacity (MW)
Brandon Shores Generating Station Coal 1,370
Chalk Point Generating Station Coal 728
Dickerson Generating Station Coal 588
Herbert A. Wagner Generating Station Coal 495
Morgantown Generating Station Coal 1,252
Warrior Run Generating Station Coal 229
Chalk Point Generating Station Natural Gas 1,868
Dickerson Generating Station Natural Gas 326
Gould Street Generating Station Natural Gas 103
Herbert A. Wagner Generating Station Natural Gas 133
Notch Cliff Generating Station Natural Gas 144
Panda Brandywine Power Plant Natural Gas 289
Perryman Generating Station Natural Gas 333
Rock Springs Generation Facility Natural Gas 772
St. Charles Energy Center Natural Gas 746
Westport Generating Station Natural Gas 121
Conowingo Dam Hydroelectric 548
Deep Creek Dam Hydroelectric 20
Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant Nuclear 1718
Chalk Point Generating Station Oil 1318
Dickerson Generating Station Oil 307
Easton Power Plant Oil 69
Herbert A. Wagner Generating Station Oil 548
Morgantown Generating Station Oil 296
Perryman Generating Station Oil 353
Philadelphia Road Generating Station Oil 261
Vienna Generating Station Oil 167
Montgomery County Resource Recovery Facility Oil 182
Wheelabrator Incinerator Waste-to-Energy 64
Criterion Wind Project Wind 70
Total Generating Power (in MW) 15418
Total Coal-Fired Generating Power (in MW) 4665
Percentage of Generating Power in Coal Plants 30.3%

Barve’s proposal to immediately take these coal power plants offline would mean a 30% reduction in electricity generation across the state. And what would that ultimately mean to consumers and electric users? In a “best-case” scenario, customers would see their electric rates drastically increase. A “worst-case” scenario would look like California, with scheduled rolling blackouts due to the inability of the electric grid to meet consumer demand.

Nobody here is arguing that coal-fired power plants are the future or are great for the environment. But that has to be some sort of acknowledgment here that shuttering these plants as Barve wants would mean drastic consequences for Maryland; job losses and an unreliable electric grid among them. The economic effects of both would be devastating on our state economy and our quality of life.

We understand that Maryland Democrats are obsessed with importing the worst ideas from California. This one should be left there.

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