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New York Times (editorial): The Trump Administration’s Coal Bailout

Posted by Advanced Energy Economy on Dec 7, 2017

This New York Times editorial strongly opposes the Dept. of Energy proposed "grid resilience" rule under review (later rejected) by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission prop up uneconomical coal-fired power plants. AEE and its coalition had a call with the ed board which led to the board weighing in on this issue. Link to the full editorial here. Excerpts below:

Federal energy regulators will soon vote on a ham-fisted Trump administration proposal to subsidize coal-fired power plants. This plan could cost families and businesses billions of dollars in higher electricity prices for no discernible public benefit.

The measure in question comes from the energy secretary, Rick Perry, and amounts to a devious and reckless attempt to prop up coal-fired plants, which have been shutting down in recent years because they cannot compete against cheaper and cleaner natural gas plants and renewable sources of energy like wind and solar.

Mr. Perry’s plan would provide what amounts to a bonus for power plants with at least a 90-day supply of fuel on site, which he says will make the electrical grid more reliable. Coal and nuclear power plants are the only ones that fit that description, because natural gas plants are supplied by pipeline and wind and solar require no fuel. But it is clear that the primary aim here is to bolster the coal industry, which President Trump embraced unreservedly on the campaign trail and whose moguls embraced him right back.

There is no question the government needs to think about and prepare for more blackouts. Most scientists expect an increase in severe weather events because of climate change, which Mr. Trump has described as a “hoax.” But it is doing the country no favors by using electrical reliability as a ruse to prop up its favored fossil fuel and stick ratepayers with the bill.

Link to the full NYT editorial here.

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