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Closures of coal and nuclear plants will not trouble the grid, says USA’s Largest power grid operator

Largest power grid operator dismisses the threat of coal and nuclear plant closures, Washington Examiner, by Josh Siegel, November 01, 2018 

The operator of the largest power market in America released a report Thursday finding that its electricity supply would hold up against a range of threats, providing evidence against the Trump administration case for preserving coal and nuclear plants.

“The PJM system is reliable today and will remain reliable into the future,” the grid operator, PJM Interconnection, said in an eight-page summary of a much-anticipated report slated for full release in December.

Andrew Ott, president and CEO of PJM, amplified that assertion later Thursday during a press conference in Washington D.C.

“The grid is more reliable today than it’s ever been,” Ott said.

PJM covers a large territory representing 65 million people in 13 states from Illinois to Virginia.

The report weighs against the Trump administration’s interest in using emergency power to keep coal and nuclear plants alive.

“We think government intervention is unnecessary,” Ott said. “Nothing in our report would say there is a specific need for a specific fuel source. We are fuel neutral.”

The White House has reportedly considered asserting a national security justification for providing coal and nuclear plants with subsidies to keep them from retiring. The effort has stalled, but critics, who say action would upset competitive power markets that reward the lowest cost resource – and also raise electricity rates – fear the administration could try to revive the idea through different mechanisms.

Ott testified to Congress last month that the grid operator’s analysis shows that coal and nuclear closures in the region he covers scheduled for 2021 and 2022 can happen without causing a problem to the grid.

PJM has previously said its grid is “more reliable than ever” and that any federal intervention “would be damaging to the markets and therefore costly to consumers” by raising electricity prices.

……….. FERC, a panel of independent energy regulators, last year rejected a previous version of the Trump administration’s plan to provide special payments to uneconomic coal and nuclear plants that could store 90 days of fuel on-site. But it directed regional transmission operators such as PJM to submit information on resilience challenges in their markets, in anticipation of potential future action FERC could take on its own.

FERC is considering the comments before determining how or whether to act.


November 3, 2018 - Posted by | ENERGY, USA

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