White House Whims Are Not Grounds for Emergency Coal, Nuke Plant Bailouts

White House Whims Are Not Grounds for Emergency Coal, Nuke Plant Bailouts

White House Whims Are Not Grounds for Emergency Coal, Nuke Plant Bailouts

"The U.S. military is increasingly turning to solar, not coal, to ensure resilience at military bases".

It says even though "intermittent resources", such as wind and solar power, do "provide value at various times during the day", it is "during times of peak demand when there is the greatest strain on the electricity grid" that "many major electricity markets are and will continue to be heavily dependent on fossil and nuclear electric generation resources". The document, dated May 29 and distributed Thursday, is marked as a "draft", which is "not for further distribution", and could be used by administration officials to justify the intervention.

LARGE SWATH OF ENERGY INDUSTRY OPPOSES DOE INTERVENTIONBut the use of either statute to prevent coal and nuclear retirements has been looked at with skepticism by Washington insiders and been blasted by most of the power sector outside of those with coal and nuclear interests.

Energy Department representatives did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

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The American Council on Renewable Energy, a nonprofit that represents various groups that want to emphasize renewable energy sources, said in a statement that the administration is intervening to bail out coal and nuclear power plants "that are no longer competitive on their own".

"In October 2017, I commended U.S. Energy Department Secretary Rick Perry and encouraged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to seriously consider the benefits of a diverse energy grid and the importance of reliable, fuel-secure sources of electricity when considering Secretary Perry's directive".

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".

Under a state law passed in 2016, utilities in OR are not allowed to bring coal-fired power into their customers' energy mix past 2035.

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"We are desperate for the President to, once again, order Energy Secretary Perry to invoke Section 202 (c) of the Federal Power Act for FirstEnergy's merchant power plants", wrote Murray. According to the memo, the planned action is a "prudent stop-gap measure" while the department addresses the nation's "grid security challenges". Perry argued that losing the plants could threaten the nation's power grid.

The Defense Production Act gives the president powers to assure the nation can produce whatever resources are necessary in the time of national need. According to Bloomberg, an unlikely coalition of proponents for both these industries told Perry that they don't see any emergency that would rationalize the DOE taking these extreme steps because "power plant retirements are a normal, healthy feature of electricity markets". Nationwide, BNEF said, two dozen nuclear plants - representing almost 33 gigawatts - are either scheduled to close or probably won't make money through 2021.

"This is an outrageous ploy to force American taxpayers to bail out coal and nuclear executives who have made bad decisions by investing in dirty and risky energy resources, and it will be soundly defeated both in the courts and in the court of public opinion".

Trump, who has frequently promised to bring back coal jobs, believes that keeping America's energy grid secure "protects our national security, public safety and economy from intentional attacks and natural disasters", White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

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"Orderly power plant retirements do not constitute an emergency for our electric grid", said Amy Farrell, vice president of the American Wind Energy Association.

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