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Herald Dispatch (opinion): Trump's power plant plan defies market trends

Posted by Advanced Energy Economy on Jun 23, 2018

In this Huntington (WV) Herald Dispatch opinion piece, former editor of the newspaper Jim Ross rails against the President's proposed coal bailout and notes multiple instances in which the Public Services Commission has already prevented similar things from happening. AEE's Malcolm Woolf is quoted below. Link to the full article here. Excerpts below:

The president's most recent move came when he ordered Energy Secretary Rick Perry to propose immediate steps to prevent the closing of unprofitable coal and nuclear power plants. While the specifics of the president's plan are not yet known, a Bloomberg report says the Department of Energy would order grid operators to buy electricity from coal and nuclear plants for two years while the DOE studies the long-term impact of those plant closings.

Trump's plan has been called a lifeline for nuclear and coal plants. It's also been called a bailout.

The electricity grid operates through a series of auctions in which utilities and wholesale generators offer certain amounts of power from specific plants at bid prices to meet expected power demands. In recent auctions, natural gas plants have had the advantage over coal and nuclear plants.

Several nuclear plants have been unable to clear the most recent auctions, and their owners are taking steps to retire them from service. And utilities began several years ago to retire aging coal-fired plants that are not large enough to justify the expense of equipment to meet modern environmental regulations.

Those not in the coal and nuclear sectors had some pretty strong words about the president's plan.

"The Administration's plan to federalize the electric power system is an exercise in crony capitalism taken solely for the benefit of a bankrupt power plant owner and its coal supplier. It would be a command-and-control mechanism that fundamentally disrupts and undermines the competitive electricity markets that have improved our electricity system's reliability, resilience, and affordability, while fostering innovation.," said Malcolm Woolf, senior vice president of policy for Advanced Energy Economy, in a statement distributed by the American Petroleum Institute.

Link to the full Herald-Dispatch article here.

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