Trump directs 'instant motion' to stop coal, nuclear energy vegetation from closing

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The proposal argues for action, stating that the decommissioning of coal-fired power plants must be managed, citing national security reasons.

Michael Panfil, director of federal energy policy for the Environmental Defense Fund, called Trump's directive "an unprecedented, illegal government handout" to the coal and nuclear industries and vowed to fight the order in court.

"This prudent stop-gap measure" will allow coal and nuclear plants to remain open while the department takes further steps to secure the grid, the memo said.

"The evolving risk associated with mitigating cyber and physical security challenges is one of the most pressing issues for the sector", the Energy Department said in the draft memo.

According to a report from Bloomberg, at a meeting today of the White House National Security Council, a 41-page draft memo was circulated that outlines the need for the USA grid to be "resilient and secure".

As renewable energy and natural gas has become very cheap, some coal and nuclear plants can no longer compete economically and are retiring early unless heavy-handed intervention, such as what was just proposed by the Administration, comes to the "rescue".

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"If DOE proceeds as the memo suggests, a selection of coal and nuclear plants, ostensibly those at risk of retirement, would receive subsidized payments. under a stitched-together "Frankenstein's monster" of federal authorities", said a commentary by Height Analytics, a consulting firm.

A draft plan circulating in Washington would require power grid operators to buy electricity from struggling coal plants over the next two years to prevent them from shutting down. And on April 2, 2018, First Energy appealed for emergency help after a subsidiary containing ailing power plants filed for bankruptcy protection. "This finality is why it is critically important to preserve the fuel security offered by nuclear plants under threat of premature closure", Korsnick said. After the Energy Department conducted a reliability study past year, Energy Secretary Rick Perry proposed a rule that would have compensated coal and nuclear plants for their ability to store months' worth of fuel on site.

A "Strategic Electric Generation Reserve" would also be created under the order "to promote the national defense and maximize domestic energy supplies", the draft memo said. The move would be one of the most direct efforts by Trump to make good on campaign promises to revive the nation's shrinking coal industry. Fortunately, the last bailout attempt was rejected unanimously by federal regulators, comprised mostly of Trump appointees.

Those reviews followed FERC's rejection of Perry's notice of proposed rulemaking that directed the commission to put market rules in place that would have guaranteed full cost recovery and a return on investment for generators that maintain 90-day on-site fuel supplies. The Federal Power Act, which ensures a reliable power supply after sudden emergencies, is not meant to insulate uneconomic power plants from market forces. And it is the biggest dumb move by this administration I have seen, at least since yesterday - when Trump effectively made all our allies angry with his ridiculous trade tariffs.

Environmental groups, natural gas producers and Republicans and Democrats who have pushed for greater competition in electricity markets all condemned the latest signal that the administration might be moving closer to imposing the Energy Department's plan.

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