Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

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

Rick Perry and Ryan Zinke at 2018 CPAC Trump orders 'immediate steps' to boost coal, nuclear plants
Theresa Hayes | 04 June, 2018, 09:55

The administration says the transfer will forestall coal and nuclear energy vegetation vital to {the electrical} grid from closing, however opponents say the requirement is basically a bailout for a dying business that the president promised to save lots of and can trigger People' electrical energy payments to get dearer.

As Bloomberg noted, there is no guarantee the president would sign off on the directive, but the White House did issue a statement on Friday saying it was weighing different options to keep America's energy grid "strong".

Over dozens of pages, the memo makes the case for action, arguing that the decommissioning of power plants must be managed for national security reasons and that federal intervention is necessary before the USA reaches a tipping point in the loss of essential, secure electric generation resources.

Possible proposals include having the Department of Energy have grid operators buy electricity from struggling coal and nuclear plants for two years.

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

The DOE measure would also create a "Strategic Electric Generation Reserve", which would shore up the U.S.'s domestic energy reserves in case of an emergency. During that two year period, the government would also conduct a study into vulnerabilities in the USA grid system.

The Energy Department would be relying partly on the Federal Power Act - the so-called Section 202 authority - that lets the administration order guaranteed profits for power plants that can store large amounts of fuel on site. Nuclear and coal-fired power plants are struggling to compete against cheap natural gas and renewable electricity.

"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. "I am encouraged by the president's actions to protect our nation from these plant closures and ensure coal power is available to address future weather, market, and cybersecurity challenges".

The action by the Energy Department would represent an unprecedented intervention into US energy markets. "This finality is why it is critically important to preserve the fuel security offered by nuclear plants under threat of premature closure", Korsnick said.

Trump campaigned on the promise that he would revive the coal industry.

In August 2017, Murray sent the White House a letter spelling out his industry's woes and complaining that his pleas had not yet been answered by the Trump administration.

"This action is essential in order to protect the resiliency and reliability of our nation's electric power grids", Murray said Friday in an email. "Of keeping our plants, all of them, online, being able to deliver energy, no matter whether it's a natural disaster that we might see from a polar vortex, or it's something more nefarious, as a cyber attack from a terrorist state or some entity with bad intent for the United States", Perry said in the hearing on May 9.

The head of the Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA), a national trade association representing independent power producers and marketers, calls the memo an "unprecedented executive branch intervention" and fears that the "economic consequences [would be] profound for power suppliers and consumers". That attempt was rightfully denied by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which determined that market rates and processes are indeed sufficient to meet national energy demand.