Saturday, 18 August, 2018

Trump orders ‘immediate steps’ to boost coal, nuclear plants

Trump orders action to stem shutdowns of coal and nuclear power plants Steam rises from a stack at a coal-burning power station
Sandra Phillips | 04 June, 2018, 00:24

"I am glad President Trump and his Administration are considering my idea to use the Defense Production Act to save coal-fired power plants with emissions controls and protect our national security", Senator Manchin said.

The Trump administration reportedly has plans in the works to direct USA grid operators to purchase power from struggling coal and nuclear facilities - a move immediately condemned by several energy industry associations and clean energy groups.

DOE's planned intervention into the energy market would last for two years, allowing for a federal study of vulnerabilities in the US energy delivery and power grid, according to Bloomberg.

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

"Federal action is necessary to stop the further premature retirements of fuel-secure generation capacity", the 41-page draft memo said, according to Bloomberg.

Environmental groups like the Sierra Club have been pushing campaigns to phase out coal as part of the USA energy grid and they say that even a "bailout" will not keep coal and nuclear plants open as the global market focuses more on natural gas and renewable energy sources. 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 owner of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant has said its plant has been unprofitable for six years. After the Energy Department conducted a reliability study a year ago, Energy Secretary Rick Perry proposed a rule that would have compensated coal and nuclear plants for their ability to store months' worth of fuel on site.

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This is not the first time that the Administration has sought to squelch free market competition by bailing out old, risky, uneconomic coal and nuclear plants. "There is no need for any such drastic action", said a PJM spokesperson about the new idea.

By January, the commission had rejected Perry's request, the Times reported. Miller is a lobbyist for FirstEnergy Solutions, a bankrupt power company that relies on coal and nuclear energy to produce electricity. They argue there are many ways to back up the grid that won't cost ratepayers billions of dollars.

"Unprecedented government intervention in the energy markets to support high-cost generation will hurt customers by taking more money out of their pockets rather than letting people keep more of what they earn", said Todd Snitchler of the American Petroleum Institute, the top lobbying group for the oil and gas industry.

Also supporting the Trump administration's decision was Sen.

"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. 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. "The Defense Production Act grants the president the authority to ensure that the nation's domestic industrial base is capable of providing the essential materials and resources needed to defend our nation and protect our sovereignty, and it recognizes energy production and critical infrastructure as strategic and crucial to that goal".

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