Trump throws ailing U.S. coal, nuke plants a lifeline, triggers backlash


Trump throws ailing U.S. coal, nuke plants a lifeline, triggers backlash

Similarly, last year, Rick Perry, secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), formally proposed that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission take "swift action to address threats to U.S. electrical grid resiliency" - a move that was opposed by many clean energy groups that claimed the request favored coal and nuclear generation.

Trump believes in total energy independence and dominance, and that keeping America's energy grid and infrastructure strong and secure protects our national security, public safety, and economy from intentional attacks and natural disasters.

Over dozens of pages, the memo makes the case for action, arguing that the decommissioning of power plants must be managed for national security reasons and that federal intervention is necessary before the USA reaches a tipping point in the loss of essential, secure electric generation resources.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the president's action is due to a national security interest in securing the national power grid's resilience.

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

The DOE measure would also create a "Strategic Electric Generation Reserve", which would shore up the U.S.'s domestic energy reserves in case of an emergency. The memo outlines how the Department of Energy would use two seldom-used laws - the Defense Production Act and the Federal Power Act - to keep power plants on for two years while the agency studies the issue. 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.

"It's high time someone realized the importance and the reliability of the grid".

Maria Korsnick, president and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute, applauded Friday the administration's effort to retain nuclear facilities as national security assets though she admitted to not having seen the details of the reported proposal.

The Energy Department can invoke its Section 202 authority under the Federal Power Act after determining a grid emergency exists because of spiking demand, electric shortages or other issues.

In exploiting the 1950 Defense Production Act - an obscure Korean War-era energy procurement statute meant to streamline the war effort against Communism, particularly against China - Trump is looking for new ways to keep coal and nuclear power afloat in the USA, even as sustainable and ever-cheaper power generation in the country, including wind and solar, has risen sharply.

"Once a nuclear power plant closes, it begins decommissioning and will not be reopened". Nationwide, BNEF said, two dozen nuclear plants - representing almost 33 gigawatts - are either scheduled to close or probably won't make money through 2021. The federal government has a lot of assets in the Pacific Northwest.

A major grid operator, PJM Interconnection, said in a statement that the power system is more reliable than ever and federal intervention isn't needed.

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

Soon after taking charge, new CIL chairperson Anil Kumar Jha said that the Power Ministry had set a daily supply level to ensure that every thermal power plant was carrying 22 days consumption of coal - the normative stock as laid down in standard operating procedures.

The head of the Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA), a national trade association representing independent power producers and marketers, calls the memo an "unprecedented executive branch intervention" and fears that the "economic consequences [would be] profound for power suppliers and consumers".

But federal energy regulators have rejected that argument and turned down a proposal late past year from Perry to subsidize nuclear and coal plants for providing "resilience" to the grid.