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Washington Examiner (Opinion): Trump’s Energy Dept. cries ‘emergency’ in pursuit of coal and nuke bailout

Posted by Dena Wiggins and Malcolm Woolf on May 15, 2018

AEE's and NGSA's joint opinion piece was published by the Washington Examiner:

When is an “emergency” not an emergency? When the U.S. Department of Energy needs a cover story for disrupting markets to subsidize companies who own uneconomic coal and nuclear power plants.

For more than a year, DOE has been looking for ways to prop up decades-old coal-fired power plants now losing money in competitive electricity markets, in fulfillment of President Trump’s campaign promises to the coal industry, and throwing unprofitable nuclear power plants into the bailout bucket for good measure.

The energy department’s first attempt to save these plants from retirement went to the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which in January rejected DOE’s proposed rule to give these plants guaranteed payments to keep them running. In a unanimous 5-0 decision that included four recent Trump appointees, FERC concluded that “the extensive comments submitted by the [regional grid operators] do not point to any past or planned generator retirements that may be a threat to grid resilience.”

DOE is now considering a petition from FirstEnergy Solutions, a power plant owner currently in bankruptcy proceedings, to invoke its emergency powers under Section 202 of the Federal Power Act to bail out the company’s coal and nuclear plants immediately. Most neutral observers acknowledge that there is little, if any, basis for DOE to grant this request... 

See the complete piece in the Washington Examiner here.

Topics: AEE In The News