Trump readies new plan to aid coal and nuclear power


The draft memo laying out the directive doesn't give a specific amount operators would have to spend but says it will be enough to keep the facilities open for the next two years, saying that USA national security "relies on a robust US domestic industrial base, of which the coal, nuclear, and oil and natural gas industries are critical strategic components".

The Department of Energy proposal would require grid operators to purchase electricity from a designated list of coal and nuclear plants over the course of two years.

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

According to another energy association, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), the plan is "an exercise in crony capitalism taken exclusively for the benefit of a bankrupt power plant owner and its coal supplier", says Malcolm Woolf, AEE's senior vice president of policy.

Colstrip's two oldest units, 1 and 2, are slated to shut down by 2022 as part of a settlement agreement between the plant's owners and utility regulators in Washington state, where Colstrip sells most of its power.

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

The Defense Production Act, adopted in 1950 at the start of the Korean War, allows the federal government to intervene in business to promote national security.

"Our nation must recognize the important role that coal and other traditional power sources play in rules created to make the national energy infrastructure stable and resilient". After the Energy Department conducted a reliability study previous year, Energy Secretary Rick Perry proposed a rule that would have compensated coal and nuclear plants for their ability to store months' worth of fuel on site.

The Trump administration could invoke two seldom-used laws to save faltering coal and nuclear plants, according to a Bloomberg News report. After the Energy Department conducted a study of grid reliability past 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 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.

The administration says the transfer will forestall coal and nuclear energy vegetation vital to {the electrical} grid from closing, however opponents say the requirement is basically a bailout for a dying business that the president promised to save lots of and can trigger People' electrical energy payments to get dearer.

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"This is an outrageous ploy to force American taxpayers to bail out coal and nuclear executives who have made bad decisions by investing in dirty and unsafe energy resources, and it will be soundly defeated both in the courts and in the court of public opinion". In a statement on Friday, Manchin was crowing like a rooster in a hen house, praising Trump for using his idea.

Such a statement has been contradicted by several power grid operators, including PJM, one of the largest independent system operators in the country.

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.

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

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