Trump ordered energy secretary to ‘stop the loss’ of coal and nuclear plants

By Tim Pearce

President Donald Trump has order Energy Secretary Rick Perry to act immediately to save struggling coal and nuclear plants in the U.S., Bloomberg reported.

“Impending retirements of fuel-secure power facilities are leading to a rapid depletion of a critical part of our nation’s energy mix and impacting the resilience of our power grid,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement Friday, according to Bloomberg.

Trump instructed Perry “to prepare immediate steps to stop the loss of these resources and looks forward to his recommendations,” Sanders said.

A coalition of energy industry interests, including natural gas and oil and renewables, have voiced opposition to a Tuesday draft plan to bail out the other, struggling energy sectors.

“The administration’s draft plan to provide government assistance to those coal and nuclear power plants that are struggling to be profitable under the guise of national security would be unprecedented and misguided,” Todd Snitchler, American Petroleum Institute’s market development group director, said in a statement.

Propping up energy sources that are not cost-effective will result in higher energy prices for consumers, Snitchler added.

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Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Rob Loftis/CC BY 3.0
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One thought on “Trump ordered energy secretary to ‘stop the loss’ of coal and nuclear plants

  1. Plant Closures and Economics and Politics

    Since 2010, California closed one nuclear plant (2,140 MW) and Germany closed 5 nuclear plants and 4 other reactors at currently operating plants (10,980 MW in total). Those closures were due to political pressures by RE aficionados, who also pressure to close “dirty” coal plants.

    Wind and solar owners are allowed to feed their heavily subsidized electricity into the grid regardless of whether it is needed or not, and, usually, they get paid at above wholesale feed-in tariff rates, or at above wholesale power purchase agreement, PPA, rates; a “no lose” deal for those owners, paid for by everyone else (subsidies, cost shifting, higher prices for goods and services).

    However, nuclear and coal plant owners usually get paid at wholesale prices, which have been decreasing due to the combination of 1) increased, heavily subsidized wind and solar, and 2) increased generation with low cost gas.

    Remember, variable and intermittent wind and solar electricity cannot exist on any electric grid without the traditional, dispatchable, flexible, generators, primarily gas turbine plants, performing the peaking, filling-in and balancing. So it is only natural the owners of wind and solar plants and the owners of gas plants having political coalitions to promote their own agendas, which include the closures of coal and nuclear plants.

    However, the US national security sector relies on the US electrical sector for 99% of its electricity. It is of vital importance for the US to have a large capacity of power plants, with large, onsite fuel storage, such as coal and nuclear plants, to ensure electricity service at a reliability of 99.97% or better, 24/7/365. Having just wind and solar, plus gas plants would greatly diminish the ensuring of that reliability.

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