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Not much support for USA Dept of Energy plan to prop up failing nuclear and coal industries

DOE Plan to Prop Up Coal and Nuclear Gets Little Support, NRDC,  

The clock is ticking for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the agency in charge of national electricity markets, to make a decision on a rushed proposal from the Trump-run Department of Energy (DOE) to massively subsidize underperforming coal and nuclear power plants, costing consumers billions. Today marks the close of the very short public comment period on the bailout, which has generated an overwhelmingly negative reaction.

Groups across the energy industry are responding to one another’s initial comments submitted two weeks ago in response to DOE’s proposal to FERC, which plans to make its decision by Dec. 11 (our initial comments are discussed here). NRDC is joining with Earthjustice, Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club and others in these “reply” comments (a link will be posted here after they are filed). As our comments emphasize, while a handful of interested parties linked to the coal and nuclear industries supported the proposal, none successfully countered its fundamental flaw: it orders customers to pay coal and nuclear plants extra money simply because they can keep 90 days’ worth of energy supply onsite (a requirement designed precisely because it benefits coal and nuclear), notbecause they are necessary to provide reliable or “resilient” grid service.

DOE’s proposal is a distraction

As my colleague Jennifer Chen laid out in a separate set of initial comments from NRDC (discussed here), a real process to investigate resilience would entail defining the term in a way that distinguishes it from reliability already accounted for by market rules, establishing metrics to measure it, and allowing resources to compete to deliver it in a technology-neutral manner.

The data indicates that resilience primarily depends on power delivery infrastructure like substations and power lines, so bailing out coal and nuclear units is the wrong approach. ……..

The best next steps? Just say no

Ultimately, DOE’s proposal is nothing more than an illegal plan to advance an expensive and ineffective solution to solve a non-existent crisisConsumersgrid operators, and major sectors of the energy industry have overwhelmingly rejected the DOE’s blatant attempt to prop up uncompetitive coal and nuclear power. The proposed rule’s few supporters have failed to provide any evidence that FERC should move forward with this ill-considered scheme.

FERC should simply reject this proposal and other ideas that are fundamentally based on a desire to save expensive coal and nuclear generators rather than to better serve customers.


November 8, 2017 - Posted by | politics, USA

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