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

Michael Brochstein via ZUMA

Michael Brochstein via ZUMA

Coal-fired and nuclear power plants continue to do a lot of the heavy lifting when the bulk power system is put to the test.

Michael Panfil, director of federal energy policy for the Environmental Defense Fund, called Trump's directive "an unprecedented, illegal government handout" to the coal and nuclear industries and vowed to fight the order in court.

American power generators are expected to retire - or announce the retirements of - 16,200 megawatts of coal-fired and 550 megawatts of nuclear plant capacity this year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The agency also is making plans to establish a "Strategic Electric Generation Reserve" with the aim of promoting the national defense and maximizing domestic energy supplies.

The US energy watchdog found the proposals neither justified nor reasonable But on Friday, the White House said it was working on a new plan.

Perry will need to give his recommendations to Trump on how the USA could keep its "fuel-secure power facilities" open.

According to Bloomberg, the memo added that these coal and nuclear plants are being replaced by natural gas and renewable power generation that is not secure or resilient.

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.


As part of the plan, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) could exercise emergency authority under national security laws to direct the operators to buy electricity from coal and nuclear facilities, according to a memo reviewed by Reuters.

President Donald Trump is preparing to issue a bailout for uneconomic coal and nuclear plants by forcing grid operators to buy their power, even though it is more expensive than alternatives.

"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. "This finality is why it is critically important to preserve the fuel security offered by nuclear plants under threat of premature closure", Korsnick said.

According to data from the Energy Information Administration, coal consumption has fallen about 20 percent compared to past year, 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.

NGSA President and CEO Dena Wiggins said "this misguided attempt to artificially resuscitate a specific set of aging and uneconomic power plants will do far more harm than good", including raising costs and undermining competitive power markets.

Since campaigning for the White House, Trump has vowed to revive the ailing US coal industry.

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. And it is the biggest dumb move by this administration I have seen, at least since yesterday - when Trump effectively made all our allies angry with his ridiculous trade tariffs.

The American Council on Renewable Vitality, a nonprofit that represents numerous teams that wish to emphasize renewable power sources, stated in an announcement that the administration is intervening to bail out coal and nuclear energy vegetation "which are now not aggressive on their very own".

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