Trump Orders 'Immediate Steps' To Save Coal And Nuclear Power Plants

Trump Orders 'Immediate Steps' To Save Coal And Nuclear Power Plants

The draft memo laying out the directive doesn't give a specific amount operators would have to spend but says it will be enough to keep the facilities open for the next two years, saying that USA national security "relies on a robust US domestic industrial base, of which the coal, nuclear, and oil and natural gas industries are critical strategic components". The plan would direct regional transmission operators to buy power from coal and nuclear plants for two years to ensure grid reliability, "promote the national defense and maximize domestic energy supplies".

A motley coalition of U.S. energy sectors lashed out Friday after the Trump administration signaled it may take a new approach in its ongoing attempt to save failing coal-fired and nuclear power plants.

The administration has said it is concerned the retirement of old coal and nuclear plants could put USA power supplies at risk because - unlike solar, wind, and natural gas power facilities - coal and nuclear generators can store fuel on site.

The Trump administration did not immediately endorse the specific actions laid out in the memo, whose suggested approach that would be the most aggressive yet tabled by Perry's Energy Department in its bid to stem the decline of the nation's ageing fleet of coal-fired plants. According to Bloomberg, an unlikely coalition of proponents for both these industries told Perry that they don't see any emergency that would rationalize the DOE taking these extreme steps because "power plant retirements are a normal, healthy feature of electricity markets". One impartial group that manages the electrical energy grid that serves greater than 65 million individuals stated that it might be unhealthy for shoppers if the federal authorities intervenes out there. "President Trump has directed Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to prepare immediate steps to stop the loss of these resources, and looks forward to his recommendations".

Neither the Energy Department nor the White House gave an indication of when they might move ahead with the strategy. U.S. Defense Department installations are 99 percent dependent on the commercial power grid, one reason that electric system reliability is vitally important to national defense and homeland security, the memo asserts.

The placation of private thermal power companies from the Ministry comes in the wake of government's decision to make "out of turn coal allocation to government thermal power plant", which private power companies have labelled as "discriminatory and a distortion of a level playing ground based on ownership of the power generation plants".

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In exploiting the 1950 Defense Production Act - an obscure Korean War-era energy procurement statute meant to streamline the war effort against Communism, particularly against China - Trump is looking for new ways to keep coal and nuclear power afloat in the U.S., even as sustainable and ever-cheaper power generation in the country, including wind and solar, has risen sharply.

Trump administration officials have already spent a year contemplating action.

"The only risk here is to Trump's campaign promise to bail out very expensive polluting coal and aging nuclear plants, which will cause our electric bills to skyrocket", Moore said.

The move would be unprecedented because the plants in question are at risk of closing down due to increased competition from abundant natural gas and renewable energy sources.

"Arbitrary market interventions of this sort have no place in the electricity structure that has kept American electric power reliable and affordable", Wetstone says. Its owner, Bob Murray, is a Trump backer who has personally lobbied Rick Perry to help the coal industry.

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