Trump readies new plan to aid coal and nuclear power

Report: Department of Energy recommends bail out of failing coal plants

The recent "bomb cyclone" system of extremely cold weather in the northeast this winter showed off that the grid could operate well despite coal retirements.

Murray Energy CEO Bob Murray at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) summit in April 2018.

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

"I am glad President Trump and his Administration are considering my idea to use the Defense Production Act to save coal-fired power plants with emissions controls and protect our national security", Senator Manchin said.

Federal action is necessary to stop the further premature retirements of fuel-secure generation capacity. This intervention would last for two years, allowing time for a federal study of vulnerabilities in the USA energy delivery and grid system. That estimate was provided by Robbie Orvis, director of energy policy design at Energy Innovation, according to the Times. "The sad irony is that such steps deprive businesses of the certainty needed to make much-needed investments in power generation - undermining the reliability of America's electricity infrastructure, which is the very concern this ill-conceived measure claims to address".

Depending on the approach taken by the Trump administration, propping up coal and nuclear plants could cost the taxpayers anywhere from $311 million to $11.8 billion per year.

Perry confirmed during congressional testimony last month that DOE was weighing its options for aiding coal and nuclear plants for national security purposes, including reviews of the DPA and FPA Section 202 (c).

"As the world's largest producer and refiner of oil and natural gas, which today is the number one source of United States electricity, our nation is on track to achieve the President's vision for energy dominance", Snitchler says.

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"Unprecedented government intervention in the energy markets to support high-cost generation will hurt customers by taking more money out of their pockets rather than letting people keep more of what they earn", said Todd Snitchler of the American Petroleum Institute, the top lobbying group for the oil and gas industry.

"If DOE proceeds as the memo suggests, a selection of coal and nuclear plants, ostensibly those at risk of retirement, would receive subsidized payments. under a stitched-together "Frankenstein's monster" of federal authorities", said a commentary by Height Analytics, a consulting firm. Low-priced natural gas has lowered the prices that coal and nuclear plants can charge for their electricity.

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

In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the ongoing closure of coal and nuclear plants is "leading to a rapid depletion of a critical part of our nation's energy mix, and impacting the resilience of our power grid". That attempt was rightfully denied by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which determined that market rates and processes are indeed sufficient to meet national energy demand.

That plea followed the Akron, Ohio-based company's announcement to shut three nuclear power plants that feed the grid operated by PJM Interconnection LLC, the largest in the country.

Coal stocks rose on news of the draft plan.

Opponents of the new plan contend the intervention is a solution in search of a problem and argue there are other ways to back up the grid.

The draft memo from DOE takes the stance that while renewable energy and natural gas have their share of benefits, increased reliance on them "comes at the expense of fuel security and resilience", which the document defines as the grid's ability to withstand and recover from major disruptions, be it adversarial attacks or natural disasters.