January 20, 2019

Trump orders 'immediate steps' to aid coal, nuclear plants

04 June 2018, 12:24 | Dale Webster

Trump orders Perry to take 'immediate steps' to stop coal plant closures | TheHill

Report: Department of Energy recommends bail out of failing coal plants

The drilling industry, renewable energy companies, and many grid operators reject the idea that coal and nuclear power plant closures are undermining USA electricity reliability and resiliency, saying gas, solar and wind have proven dependable.

"It's about the national security of our country". The justification for using the Defense Production Act would be that keeping unprofitable power plants running is a matter of national security until the two-year vulnerability study is complete.

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

The draft memo laying out the directive would not give a certain quantity operators must spend however says it will likely be sufficient to maintain the services open for the following two years, saying that US nationwide safety "depends on a strong USA home industrial base, of which the coal, nuclear, and oil and pure fuel industries are vital strategic parts". Coal and nuclear plants, on the other hand, keep fuel stored on site, eliminating a potential weak point that could be targeted by malicious hackers.

The agency also is making plans to establish a "Strategic Electric Generation Reserve" with the aim of promoting the national defense and maximizing domestic energy supplies.

"Too many of these fuel-secure plants have retired prematurely and many more have recently announced retirement", the 41-page memo reads.

The statement from the White House didn't detail how the government would work to keep plants open.

"The Trump administration is trying, once again, to fleece ratepayers by giving coal and nuclear power plants billions of dollars in guaranteed profits". PacifiCorp also has plans to shutter a number of its coal-fired units over the next 15 years.

Coal stocks rose on news of the draft plan.

Manchin said Friday he is glad Trump is considering his idea to support coal-fired and nuclear plants under the Defense Production Act.

Robert Murray presented a proposal to Perry in March 2017, the month Perry took office. Federal regulators shot down the idea in January. Energy analysts say the measure is meant for short-term emergencies and it would be a bad fit to use it this way.

"Litigation would begin nearly immediately", she said.

Environmental groups, natural gas producers and Republicans and Democrats who have pushed for greater competition in electricity markets all condemned the latest signal that the administration might be moving closer to imposing the Energy Department's plan.

As renewable energy and natural gas has become very affordable, some coal and nuclear plants can no longer compete economically and are retiring early unless heavy-handed intervention, such as what was just proposed by the Administration, comes to the "rescue". Numerous plants have operated far longer than anticipated when they were built.

Environmental groups decried the support for coal over cleaner energy sources, while energy industry groups warned that it could raise prices.

"Today's action will do nothing to make the American people safer".

"If DOE proceeds as the memo suggests, a selection of coal and nuclear plants, ostensibly those at risk of retirement, would receive subsidized payments. under a stitched-together "Frankenstein's monster" of federal authorities", said a commentary by Height Analytics, a consulting firm.

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