Science

Trump may force coal, nuclear plants to stay open

Trump may force coal, nuclear plants to stay open

Citing national security concerns, US President Donald Trump's administration is working on a fresh plan to subsidize coal and nuclear plants, a move critics say is unnecessary and will drive up energy costs.

"President Trump has directed Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to prepare immediate steps to stop the loss of these resources, and looks forward to his recommendations", Sanders said. "The Trump administration is continuing to try to fulfill the president's campaign promise to his coal supporters to bail them out", says John Moore, attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Under the Energy Department strategy, outlined in a memo obtained by Bloomberg News, the administration would invoke national defense needs - using authority granted under a pair of federal laws - to establish a strategic electric generation reserve and compel grid operators to buy electricity from at-risk plants.

"Cleaner, cheaper power is abundant, and new energy technologies like wind, solar, and other distributed energy make the grid safer from attack".

According to a report from Bloomberg, at a meeting today of the White House National Security Council, a 41-page draft memo was circulated that outlines the need for the US grid to be "resilient and secure". Without it, she said, "More coal and nuclear plants will be prematurely closed and that would have impacts to the future reliability and resilience of the grid". The federal government has a lot of assets in the Pacific Northwest.

Still, the broader electric sector wasted no time in slamming the new memo, from the American Petroleum Institute to the American Wind Energy Association.

The Energy Department action, if ordered, would represent an unprecedented intervention into US energy markets.

A motley coalition of United States energy sectors lashed out Friday after the Trump administration signaled it may take a new approach in its ongoing attempt to save failing coal-fired and nuclear power plants.

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"That is an outrageous ploy to drive American taxpayers to bail out coal and nuclear executives who've made unhealthy selections by investing in soiled and harmful power sources, and it will likely be soundly defeated each within the courts and within the court docket of public opinion". NETL went on to conclude that, "In the case of PJM, it can also be shown that the demand could not have been met without coal".

The memo added that "federal action is necessary to stop the further premature retirements of fuel-secure generation capacity".

Both coal and nuclear have seen their share of the energy market diminish in recent years, losing out to oil, natural gas and renewables.

Despite Murray's claims he "didn't have any involvement" in the rule DOE proposed to FERC, In These Times revealed a secret March 2017 meeting between Perry and Murray, in which the coal CEO presented his "action plan" for federal agencies to aid his struggling industry - and in which he hugged Perry.

In January the Republican-led Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected a different proposal from Perry that sought to pay coal and nuclear plants for their resiliency and reliability services.

As Bloomberg noted, there is no guarantee the president would sign off on the directive, but the White House did issue a statement on Friday saying it was weighing different options to keep America's energy grid "strong".

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has written a letter to the Prime Minister, seeking his intervention to ensure that CIL will offer additional railway rakes for the transportation of coal to thermal power plants in the Delhi region, as the Indian capital is facing acute shortage of power as a result of lower coal stock.