Published: Mon, June 04, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Trump Orders Perry to Stem Coal, Nuclear Power Plant Closures

Trump Orders Perry to Stem Coal, Nuclear Power Plant Closures

The United States of America has the most technologically advanced and developed infrastructure in the world, with access to a reliable, dependable, and diversified electric grid. "That ability to recover, known as the grid's resilience, in turn depends on the availability of robust and secure electric generation resources and their supportive supply chains".

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.

Environmental groups criticized the draft plan and called it illegal.

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a major coal-mining state, on Friday praised Trump for carrying out what he said was his idea: "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", Manchin said. "The security of our homeland is inextricably tied to the security of our energy supply".

"We support all efforts to ensure the security of our nation's electric power supply, which is critical to the reliability of our electric power grids, to low-priced electricity and to our national defense", Murray said Friday in a statement.

As part of the plan, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) could exercise emergency authority under national security laws to direct the operators to buy electricity from coal and nuclear facilities, according to a memo reviewed by Reuters. Infrastructure and processes are already in place to ensure that remains the case.

The newly elected Karnataka Chief Minister, H D Kumaraswami, has also communicated to the Prime Minister warning of the coal shortages being faced by three power plant in his state, which now have coal stocks to operate for 15 days.

"Any federal intervention in the market to order customers to buy electricity from specific power plants would be damaging to the markets and therefore costly to consumers", that group PJM Interconnection said in a statement. The proposed Energy Department directive also would tell some of those facilities to continue generating and delivering electric power according to their existing or recent contracts with utilities.

"Too many of these fuel-secure plants have retired prematurely and many more have recently announced retirement", the 41-page memo reads.

As Trump's fossil-fuel energy mouthpiece, Perry earlier commissioned a study to identify regulatory causes for coal-plant closures, but no regulations were found; instead, cheap natural gas was observed to be responsible for widespread industry decline.

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

"This finality is why it is critically important to preserve the fuel security offered by nuclear plants under threat of premature closure", Korsnick said. John E. Shelk, EPSA's president and CEO, explains, "This proposed federal action is a bell that can not be called back once it is rung".

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).

Christopher Mansour, of the Solar Energy Industries Association, added: "A policy to spend billions of dollars keeping uneconomic power plants afloat, while trying to put clean and affordable solar on the sidelines, is not a recipe for economic success".

"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 risky energy resources, and it will be soundly defeated both in the courts and in the court of public opinion".

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