Trump admin considers plan to bail out coal, nuclear plants

04 June, 2018, 20:37 | Author: Sherry Houston
  • Michael Brochstein via ZUMA

"While we believe DOE has broad privileges to identify threats to national security, we are skeptical that (the order) entitles DOE to direct power market operators (.) to pay generators more based upon that threat", said Katie Bays, energy analyst at Height Capital Markets in Washington. As nuclear and coal plants are decommissioned, regulators have been grappling with how to ensure that the nation's power system can withstand extreme weather events and cyber-attacks. The lifetime of newer units 3 and 4 is a bit murkier, but one owner, Puget Sound Energy, has identified 2027 as the date it would shed its share of the plant. The document, dated May 29 and distributed Thursday, is marked as a "draft", which is "not for further distribution", and could be used by administration officials to justify the intervention.

While many of President Trump's top donors advocate for the support of struggling coal-fired power plants, it is unclear as to whether or not Trump has signed off on the plan.

Energy Department representatives did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

The Trump administration may soon take action to try to save the nation's struggling coal and nuclear plants.

"In October 2017, I commended U.S. Energy Department Secretary Rick Perry and encouraged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to seriously consider the benefits of a diverse energy grid and the importance of reliable, fuel-secure sources of electricity when considering Secretary Perry's directive". After the Energy Department conducted a study of grid reliability previous year, Perry proposed a rule that would have compensated coal and nuclear plants for their ability to store months' worth of fuel on site. Energy experts across a range of industries, within the federal government and in academia have agreed that this sort of effort will create a bloated power sector deploying outmoded technologies. And, time and time again, he has failed to make good on that promise. But the agency said that most of the coal powered plants that closed were "relatively old and small".

The Energy Department action, if ordered, would represent an unprecedented intervention into US energy markets. Nationwide, BNEF said, two dozen nuclear plants - representing almost 33 gigawatts - are either scheduled to close or probably won't make money through 2021.

"Earthjustice will continue to fight the Trump Administration's destructive and illegal coal bailouts every with every legal tool available".

Trump's teasing jobs report tweet raises questions
Its report stated that factory jobs have grown by 259,000 in the past year, with most of the growth in long-lasting goods. Trump's tweet on Friday morning. "It is not a trade war, it is a discussion", Kudlow told CNBC News.

"Any federal intervention in the market to order customers to buy electricity from specific power plants would be damaging to the markets and therefore costly to consumers", that group PJM Interconnection said in a statement. Trump has directed Perry "to prepare immediate steps to stop the loss of these resources and looks forward to his recommendations".

After receiving hundreds of pages of comments ghostwritten by FirstEnergy, FERC ultimately shot down that rule in January, and Murray later blamed this decision for FirstEnergy's bankruptcy filing. This time, Perry is planning to resort to federal emergency measures typically employed during wartime or natural disasters, according to Bloomberg.

But on Friday, the White House said it was working on a new plan. They argue there are many ways to back up the grid that won't cost ratepayers billions of dollars.

"Energy Secretary Perry is being forced to issue another unnecessary and unprecedented emergency order to favor coal and nuclear over more economic electricity suppliers, including renewables".

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has written a letter to the Prime Minister, seeking his intervention to ensure that CIL will offer additional railway rakes for the transportation of coal to thermal power plants in the Delhi region, as the Indian capital is facing acute shortage of power as a result of lower coal stock.

"It's going to be tough to get a court to question DOE's factual finding - particularly if it relates to national defense", Peskoe said in an interview.

According to an analysis from the Sierra Club, the draft plan would exploit Section 202 (c) of the Federal Power Act and the Cold War-era Defense Production Act (DPA) to force American families and businesses to bail out uneconomic coal and nuclear plants. That authority has generally been reserved for potentially widespread blackouts and disruptions.

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