Trump’s coal rescue plan will force taxpayers to rescue a dying industry

Clean energy

Posted on June 2, 2018 |
by Steve Hanley

June 2, 2018 by Steve Hanley

The Trump administration is considering a plan that will order utilities to buy electricity from coal and power plants nuclear, even though the cost of that electricity will be higher than that paid by natural gas facilities and renewable energy suppliers. In other words, the Trump administration wants to force it to buy more expensive and dirtier electricity that is more likely to cause health problems and perhaps even premature death.

  coal-generating plant

Bloomberg reports a note outlining the plan being circulated within the administration. The note, marked "Draft" and "Not for later distribution," was leaked to [Bloomberg . "Federal action is necessary to stop early retirements of safe fuel generation capacity," the 41-page memo begins.

The plan would establish a "Strategic Electricity Generation Reserve" very similar to the country's strategic oil reserve. The declared purpose of the reserve is to ensure that the United States always has a supply of electricity ready to feed its defensive capabilities in case of damage by severe weather (for more information on this subject, see Puerto Rico) or cyber attacks on the electricity grid. . It is misleading to suggest that cyber attacks would not attack the entire electrical network, regardless of the source of its power, but it is impossible to apply logic to the arguments of the ideologues.

To implement the plan, the US Department of Energy. UU Order utility companies to purchase electricity from a designated list of facilities "to prevent any future action toward removal, dismantling or deactivation" for a period of two years. During that time, existing nuclear and coal facilities would be required to continue to produce electricity, even if their provisional decommissioning was scheduled.

The two-year window would give the DOE time to conduct a study that was supposed to prove natural. gas generation plants and renewable energy are not able to meet the nation's electrical needs in an emergency and that only coal and nuclear power plants have that capacity. The problem worsened recently when the supply of natural gas to power plants in the Northeast was limited by the increase in demand during the cold winter.

The argument is that renewables can not provide a constant supply of electricity when the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow and natural gas plants depend on the supplies of the pipes. If those pipes can not deliver their product for any reason, the facilities will be forced to shut down, causing the US electrical grid. UU Be vulnerable

"Too many of these fuel-safe plants have been removed prematurely and many more have recently announced their retirement." The memo reads. It suggests that they have been replaced by less secure and less resilient sources of renewable energy and natural gas, despite much evidence, precisely the contrary (distributed generation offers greater security and resistance). The two-year grace period is a "provisional preventive measure" while the department addresses the nation's "network security challenges," according to the note.

Everyone who reads CleanTechinca on a regular basis has been watching with amazement as the price of renewables has gone down, down, down in recent years. We all see what is happening. Renewables are now cheaper than coal or nuclear power. In a world where only the final result matters, that trend means zero emissions, electricity is the wave of the future, right?

Well, not quite. "National security" triumphs (you must forgive the expression) any other consideration. No one can argue against national security, especially in the United States after September 11. What better way for the defenders of coal and nuclear energy to get the carpet out of renewable energy than to wrap their cause in the flag? No one would dare to challenge coal and nuclear power if they are vital to national defense, will they?

This is a brilliant marketing of the likes of Robert Murray, who runs the largest private coal company in America and has easy access to Trump himself. "This action is essential to protect the strength and reliability of our nation's power grids," Murray wrote in an email to Bloomberg on June 1. Murray and Joseph Kraft, director of Alliance Resource Partners, donated $ 1 million to the Trump inauguration fund.

People in America do not even try to hide their corruption. They delight and challenge anyone to do something about it. The government of the United States is now one of the largest criminal companies in the history of the world, with the main con man as Donald Trump himself. He seems to be proud that bribery is endemic throughout the country and whoever does not play will suffer.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, US power generators are expected to withdraw or announce the withdrawal of 16,200 megawatts of coal. -the capacity of the power plant and 550 megawatts of capacity of the nuclear plant in 2018. Two dozen nuclear plants with a total capacity of 33 gigawatts are scheduled to close or will be useless by 2021.

The DOE proposes to justify its unprecedented interference in electricity markets based on two existing statutes: the Federal Power Act, which allows the government to guarantee profits for power plants that can store large amounts of fuel on-site, and Defense Production Act, a cold-war statute invoked once by President Harry Truman to help the steel industry.

The so-called study of network resilience will be one of those modern exercises of false data so loved by think tanks and lobbyists. ts. The process is as follows: First, determine the conclusion you want to reach. Second, find data that supports the desired conclusion.

"It will be difficult to get a court to question the factual finding of the DOE, particularly if it is about national defense," Ari Peskoe, director of the Electricity Law Initiative at Harvard University. he tells Bloomberg. Basar his actions in two statutes could simultaneously give the administration more "legal space," he says. The last time the Defense Production Act was invoked was in 2001 during the California energy crisis. At that time, the DOE ordered natural gas sellers to prioritize the contracts of Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

It is important to decode what is happening here. The coal and nuclear industries have been rubbing elbows with Trump (and the Republican Party) long before the 2016 election. You can see the writing on the wall. They know they are about to be hit in the market. They know that most of their investments are in stranded badets that will lose value in the near future. They are in a state of panic because of Xavier Onbadis's principle: never suffer a financial loss if you can take it away from others, in this case, the American taxpayers and the public service customers.

Trump and his cronies like to sing the government should not choose winners and losers in business. However, when the time comes to push and one of your big campaign donors needs a helping hand from Uncle Sugar, their lies are exposed, as they do just that. Doing this about national security is a brilliant tactic designed to cut off detractors in the knees and give Faux News all the excuse it needs to raise the clamor about how the administration keeps us all safe.

Horse puckey. What is doing is lying through the teeth to care for the main donors. It is killing us all gently with pollution and nuclear waste while sending us the bill.

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Tags: Donald Trump, Robert Murray, Utilities

About the author

Steve Hanley Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Rhode Island. You can follow it on Google + and Twitter .

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