Trump looks to boost coal

04 June, 2018, 00:26 | Author: Cecelia Webb
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An increasing number of coal and nuclear plants have gone under in recent years while a cheaper and cleaner alternative, natural gas, has become more mainstream.

Perry will need to give his recommendations to Trump on how the USA could keep its "fuel-secure power facilities" open. That estimate was provided by Robbie Orvis, director of energy policy design at Energy Innovation, according to the Times. After the Energy Department conducted a study of grid reliability previous year, Perry proposed a rule that would have compensated coal and nuclear plants for their ability to store months' worth of fuel on site.

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.

The Defense Production Act gives the president powers to assure the nation can produce whatever resources are necessary in the time of national need.

"This prudent stop-gap measure" will allow coal and nuclear plants to remain open while the department takes further steps to secure the grid, the memo said. "This finality is why it is critically important to preserve the fuel security offered by nuclear plants under threat of premature closure", Korsnick said.

Coal company CEO Robert Murray of Murray Energy [MUYEY.UL], also called for Perry to use emergency powers to save at-risk coal plants.

A "Strategic Electric Generation Reserve" would also be created under the order "to promote the national defense and maximize domestic energy supplies", the draft memo said.




Trump administration officials have contemplated action for more than a year.

Based on knowledge from the Vitality Info Administration, coal consumption has fallen about 20 p.c in comparison with final 12 months, from about 149,200,000 quick tons within the first two months of 2017 to only beneath 119,600,000 quick tons within the first two months of 2018. It asked Energy Secretary Rick Perry to help its struggling coal and nuclear plants.

By January, the commission had rejected Perry's request, the Times reported. "Above all, the subsidy would be a major victory for First Energy as it negotiates with bondholders over the value of coal and nuclear plants owned by its bankrupt First Energy Solutions subsidiary". 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".

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

One other coalition of power business teams representing the oil, pure fuel, photo voltaic, and wind industries issued joint statements saying the administration's plan is "misguided", "unwarranted", and "an train in crony capitalism". 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 government last invoked the Defense Production Act to address the California energy crisis in early 2001, ordering natural gas sellers to prioritize contracts to sell supplies to utility Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

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