Anti-Sustainability: Trump Orders DoE to Keep Fading US Coal Industry Alive
Jun 04 2018
In a rare move, the Trump administration confirmed Friday that it will take "immediate steps" to prevent coal and nuclear power facilities in the US from closing. Abusing this authority to bail out uneconomic power plants for such an extended time makes no sense, especially when most regions of the country are awash with excess electricity. At the same time, hackers from criminal groups and hostile regimes are growing increasingly sophisticated in how they target weak spots.
Under the directive, Perry would require grid operators to buy electricity from ailing nuclear and coal-fired power plants to keep them from being shuttered.
MEMO POINTS TO DOE'S NATIONAL SECURITY RESPONSIBILITIESIn defense of prompt, alternative action by the department, the draft memo speaks of DOE's position on the NSC and its responsibility, under statute and executive order, to respond to energy supply disruptions and any threats to grid reliability and resilience. "Conventional reliability standards do not adequately take into account gas pipeline vulnerabilities".
A press release from White Home press secretary Sarah Sanders didn't say particularly what steps the administration would take however stated that "protecting America's power grid and infrastructure sturdy and safe protects our nationwide safety, public security, and economic system from intentional assaults and pure disasters".
"Unfortunately, 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", Sanders said.
The proposal argues for action, stating that the decommissioning of coal-fired power plants must be managed, citing national security reasons.
Today's news accurately recognizes that safeguarding the energy grid is a national security issue - not just a domestic energy issue - and that West Virginia coal plays a critical role.
Since campaigning for the White House, Trump has vowed to revive the ailing US coal industry. "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".
As reported earlier by Mining Weekly Online, according to data sourced from the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), on April 22, thermal power plants with aggregating generation capacity of 140 065 MW had coal stocks of 15.01-million tons, equivalent to about nine days' consumption, against a normative stock requirement of 22 days set by CEA.
Perry in September asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to consider "guaranteeing financial returns" for power plants able to "stockpile" 90 days worth of fuel on site.
He said using that section of the Federal Power Act "tees off the concept of continuance of a war in which the United States is involved as being kind of the baseline circumstance that would justify a DOE order to certain types of facilities to either begin operating or continue operation".
The American Council on Renewable Vitality, a nonprofit that represents numerous teams that wish to emphasize renewable power sources, stated in an announcement that the administration is intervening to bail out coal and nuclear energy vegetation "which are now not aggressive on their very own".
Such a statement has been contradicted by several power grid operators, including PJM, one of the largest independent system operators in the country.