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Real Clear Energy (Opinion): Coal, Nuclear Bailout Will Make Americans Less Rich

Posted by Ross Marchand & Dylan Reed on Sep 28, 2018

Real Clear Energy published this opinion piece co-written by Dylan Reed, manager of federal policy at AEE, discussing implications of the President’s proposed coal and nuclear bailout.

Link to full Real Clear Energy article here.

Excerpts Below:

It’s easy to take the flicker of a light bulb for granted. But keeping the lights on and the cell phones charging requires a smorgasbord of energy choices coordinated around a stable grid. This abundant availability of cheap power sources, however, is only part of the equation. Without a dynamic market with clear rules of the game, generating electricity would be more expensive, less clean, and less secure. That’s why, when certain energy sources begin to fade in popularity and usage, it’s important to allow other technologies to serve consumers.

Unfortunately, the Trump Administration has taken several actions to prop up uneconomic power plants at the expense of consumers, taxpayers, and all other energy sources that provide affordable and reliable power. In June, the president suggested that the closure of coal and nuclear power plants represented a national security threat to the country. President Trump ordered Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Rick Perry to take “immediate steps” to stop these closures. Since then, numerous national security experts and former officials have strongly questioned whether any proposal to bail out power plants would help the security of our nation…

 The fact is America has been moving toward a more diverse energy resource mix for at least a decade. Ten years ago, nearly half of U.S. electricity was produced by a single resource: coal. Today, coal and natural gas each supply about one third of our electricity, nuclear one fifth, and hydro and non-hydro renewables another one fifth. Greater fuel diversity gives us more ways to meet our energy needs while maintaining, if not improving, reliability. This trend is unlikely to change, with falling prices for natural gas, wind, solar, storage, energy efficiency, and other advanced energy resources…

 Rather than celebrating market forces that are pushing out old and inefficient power plants, the president seems to want to “do something” to save them. But what would federal action entail? Billions in dollars of subsidies to uneconomic units…

 In place of this no-win proposition, the administration and Congress should support markets that allow for energy resources to compete based on price and performance. Technology-neutral markets force companies to compete to provide the best service at the lowest possible cost. In other words, our lights stay on and our utility bills stay low, a win for grid reliability and American consumers…

 See the complete Real Clear Energy story here.

 

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