September 24, 2018

Trump orders Energy Department to help ailing coal, nuclear plants

04 June 2018, 09:52 | Edward Lowe

President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump

The DoE memo suggests that USA energy grid operators could be compelled to purchase power from a pre-approved list over a two-year period, "to forestall any future actions toward retirement, decommissioning or deactivation", according to Ars Technica.

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

During that time, the DOE would conduct a study of vulnerabilities in the United States power grid system.

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

The draft memo asserts that "federal action is necessary to stop the further premature retirements of fuel-secure generation capacity" while DOE and other entities embark on further study of "national security needs and additional measures to safeguard the nation's electric grid and natural gas pipeline infrastructure from current threats".

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Environmental teams just like the Sierra Membership have been pushing campaigns to part out coal as a part of the US power grid and so they say that even a "bailout" is not going to maintain coal and nuclear vegetation open as the worldwide market focuses extra on pure fuel and renewable power sources.

The action by the Energy Department would represent an unprecedented intervention into USA energy markets.

There is no environmental argument for keeping open coal plants, which are the most carbon-intensive form of power.

Impending retirements of coal-fired and nuclear power plants are harming the nation's electric grid and reducing its resilience, and the president wants immediate action "to stop the loss of these resources", Sanders said.

The draft plan would require power grid operators to buy electricity from struggling plants over the next two years to prevent more from shutting down. Nationwide, BNEF said, two dozen nuclear plants - representing almost 33 gigawatts - are either scheduled to close or probably won't make money through 2021.

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"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.

The independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected a similar request by Perry in January, saying in a unanimous decision that there's no evidence that past or planned retirements of coal-fired power plants pose a threat to grid reliability. They argue there are many ways to back up the grid that won't cost ratepayers billions of dollars. The operator for much of the Mid-Atlantic, it says it has "secured reliable supplies through 2021/2022" and that this kind of federal intervention "would be damaging to the markets and therefore costly to consumers".

"However, since grid operators, industry experts and utilities have repeatedly and forcefully stated that there is no energy shortage and there is no evidence of an emergency, Trump's scheme today is not just unnecessary - it is likely illegal", the Sierra Club claims.

Representatives of FirstEnergy did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

"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.

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The draft memo from DOE takes the stance that while renewable energy and natural gas have their share of benefits, increased reliance on them "comes at the expense of fuel security and resilience", which the document defines as the grid's ability to withstand and recover from major disruptions, be it adversarial attacks or natural disasters. The federal government has a lot of assets in the Pacific Northwest.

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