September 24, 2018

Trump administration taking steps to save coal plants; effect on Colstrip unclear

04 June 2018, 12:21 | Edward Lowe

Steam rises from a stack at a coal-burning power station

Trump orders action to stem shutdowns of coal and nuclear power plants

The drilling industry, renewable energy companies, and many grid operators reject the idea that coal and nuclear power plant closures are undermining US electricity reliability and resiliency, saying gas, solar and wind have proven dependable. The memo outlines how the Department of Energy would use two seldom-used laws - the Defense Production Act and the Federal Power Act - to keep power plants on for two years while the agency studies the issue.

One likely plan, laid out in a 41-page draft memorandum posted online by Bloomberg News and Utility Dive, would favor certain power plants in the name of national security.

A draft memo urges federal action to "stop the further premature retirements of fuel-secure generation" from coal and nuclear plants that have struggled to compete with natural gas and renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.

A major grid operator, PJM Interconnection, said in a statement that the power system is more reliable than ever and federal intervention isn't needed.

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According to data from the Energy Information Administration, coal consumption has fallen about 20 percent compared to a year ago, from about 149,200,000 short tons in the first two months of 2017 to just under 119,600,000 short tons in the first two months of 2018.

As recent extreme weather events show, the ongoing loss of additional coal-fired and nuclear power will pose a significant risk to the electric grid because these units provide resilience and essential reliability services to our nation's electric grid - indispensable attributes to the delivery of electricity in our country. Federal regulators shot down the idea in January.

Those reviews followed FERC's rejection of Perry's notice of proposed rulemaking that directed the commission to put market rules in place that would have guaranteed full cost recovery and a return on investment for generators that maintain 90-day on-site fuel supplies.

The placation of private thermal power companies from the Ministry comes in the wake of government's decision to make "out of turn coal allocation to government thermal power plant", which private power companies have labelled as "discriminatory and a distortion of a level playing ground based on ownership of the power generation plants". FirstEnergy Solutions filed for bankruptcy within days of its emergency request. They argue there are many ways to back up the grid that won't cost ratepayers billions of dollars.

Novak Djokovic into last 16 at Slam for 43rd time
The Serbian, champion at Roland Garros in 2016, wasn't broken by the Spanish veteran in a resounding 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory. The grueling encounter passed three hours as Djokovic forced another breaker, which he took on his third set point.

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".

"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.

The Energy Department can invoke its Section 202 authority under the Federal Power Act after determining a grid emergency exists because of spiking demand, electric shortages or other issues. One impartial group that manages the electrical energy grid that serves greater than 65 million individuals stated that it might be unhealthy for shoppers if the federal authorities intervenes out there.

Petrobras shares plunge 20% after CEO Pedro Parente resigns amid strikes
In his resignation letter to President Michel Temer, Mr Parente said the strike challenged the pricing policy he had implemented. Because of the latest reorganization, Petrobras had regained buyers' confidence earlier than truckers started placing Could 21.

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