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St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Opinion): Subsidizing coal plants is a bad, expensive idea

Posted by David Nicklaus on Jun 8, 2018

This St. Louis Post Dispatch business opinion column discusses the cons associated with the proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear by requiring grid operators purchase those types of energy. Excerpts below. Read the entire column here.

The proposal, reported last week by Bloomberg, would order grid operators to buy electricity from plants that are at risk of closing. A draft memo, which the Energy Department has not yet acted upon, argues that the plants need to stay open for national security reasons.

“This is a solution in search of a problem,” says Malcolm Woolf, senior vice president at Advanced Energy Economy, a trade group representing both producers and consumers of electricity. “The idea of somehow singling out coal and nuclear as more secure doesn’t hold up.”

The piece goes on to discuss the problems with the arguments made in support of the proposal.

“This proposal is not coming from the Department of Defense, and it is not coming from the grid operators,” Woolf says. “From all accounts this is coming from the president.”

Coal isn’t inherently more reliable than natural gas or other forms of energy, he says.

In fact, some recent emergencies have been coal-related: During Hurricane Harvey last year, some Texas power plants’ coal piles became so waterlogged they couldn’t be used.

See the entire Post-Dispatch column here.

 

Topics: AEE In The News