Trump administration floats plan to save coal plants

Trump administration floats plan to save coal plants

The proposal argues for action, stating that the decommissioning of coal-fired power plants must be managed, citing national security reasons. It relies on authorities given to the executive branch in the Defense Production Act of 1950 and the Federal Power Act.

"Too many of these fuel-secure plants have retired prematurely and many more have recently announced retirement", the 41-page memo reads.

The DPA, enacted in 1950 during the Korean War to ensure the availability of critical materials and resources for the USA national defense, allows the secretary of energy, through a presidential delegation, to require contracts or allocations of materials and services to maximize domestic energy supplies.

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".

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

Twenty-five coal plants have closed since he took office, as they face competition from natural gas, wind and solar power, the Times reported.

Depending on what the Trump administration decides, an intervention to prop up unprofitable coal and nuclear plants could cost consumers between $311 million to $11.8 billion per year, according to a preliminary estimate by Robbie Orvis, director of energy policy design at Energy Innovation.


A draft plan circulating in Washington would require power grid operators to buy electricity from struggling coal plants over the next two years to prevent them from shutting down.

Both Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Rep. David B. McKinley, R-W.Va., have been encouraging Trump to use his power under the Defense Production Act and the Federal Power Act to protect power plants already investing in emissions control. Nationwide, BNEF said, two dozen nuclear plants - representing almost 33 gigawatts - are either scheduled to close or probably won't make money through 2021.

"As it has done time and time again over the years, coal proved to be exactly what we needed to power the country, demonstrating its importance in keeping the lights on when other resources were unavailable", she said.

According to Bloomberg, the move would signal an unprecedented intervention in the USA energy industry.

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. A coalition of natural gas and renewable power advocates told Perry that "power plant retirements are a normal, healthy feature of electricity markets", and therefore there is no emergency that would justify Energy Department action. Federal regulators shot down the idea in January.

"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. 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. Both the US coal and nuclear power industries have been shrinking for years, under pressure from cheaper natural gas along with advances in solar and wind energy.

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