Published: Mon, June 04, 2018
Science | By

Trump Orders Perry to Stem Coal, Nuclear Power Plant Closures

Trump Orders Perry to Stem Coal, Nuclear Power Plant Closures

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.

"Unfortunately, impending retirements of fuel-secure power facilities are leading to a rapid depletion of a critical part of our nation's energy mix, and impacting the resilience of our power grid", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement about the measure.

So what may that appear to be?

Under the directive, Perry would require grid operators to buy electricity from ailing nuclear and coal-fired power plants to keep them from being shuttered.

"Federal action is necessary to stop the further premature retirements of fuel-secure generation capacity", says a 41-page draft memo circulated before a National Security Council meeting on the subject Friday.

While many of President Trump's top donors advocate for the support of struggling coal-fired power plants, it is unclear as to whether or not Trump has signed off on the plan.

According to data from the Energy Information Administration, coal consumption has fallen about 20 percent compared to past year, from about 149,200,000 short tons in the first two months of 2017 to just under 119,600,000 short tons in the first two months of 2018.

Analysts said the new plan would face numerous legal and political challenges before it could get implemented.

"Once a nuclear power plant closes, it begins decommissioning and will not be reopened".

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

Perry previously said the department was considering this approach in a hearing with the House Science Committee earlier this month.

"It is in regards to the nationwide safety of our nation".

But some groups that study the USA electric grid say that it isn't at risk of breaking down in the way the directive describes. That authority has generally been reserved for potentially widespread blackouts and disruptions.

According to Bloomberg, the move would signal an unprecedented intervention in the US energy industry. "There isn't any want for any such drastic motion".

A number of other trade groups representing energy efficiency, electric storage, natural gas, oil, solar, wind and electricity consumers also chimed in to criticize the draft memo and its proposed actions.

What kind of intervention is required?

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.

"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".

Trump campaigned on the promise that he would revive the coal industry.

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