June 2, 2017 Read More →

On the Blogs: Trump Undercuts U.S. Coal, Nuclear Industries

WamsteadOnEnergy.com:

The administration’s inability, as well as that of most of the Republican Party in general, to come to grips with climate change is sad, but that will have to wait for a future post. The issue at hand is the decision’s likely negative impact on the U.S.’ already-battered nuclear and coal industries.

For years the nuclear industry has been making the case that it was vital to the country’s climate change mitigation efforts because of its emissions-free generation profile. While accounting for just 20 percent of the nation’s annual electric generation, the industry noted ad infinitum, it was responsible for 60 percent of the carbon dioxide-free emissions (see chart below). In a carbon-constrained world, that would be a valuable attribute. But the Trump administration has now made it clear that it places no value on CO2-free generation sources.

That, in turn, could be a major problem for the industry, as the effort to secure nuclear subsidies—successful so far in Illinois and New York (although now tied up in court), still pending in Ohio, Connecticut and now Pennsylvania—has relied in large part on the sector’s glowing greenhouse gas attributes.

That, in turn, could be a major problem for the industry, as the effort to secure nuclear subsidies—successful so far in Illinois and New York (although now tied up in court), still pending in Ohio, Connecticut and now Pennsylvania—has relied in large part on the sector’s glowing greenhouse gas attributes.

Where does that leave us? The administration’s action undercuts those arguing to keep open the nation’s existing fleet of economically challenged but emissions-free nuclear plants; challenges the need for future nuclear construction (Why, for example, should the four over-budget, long-delayed reactors under construction in Georgia and South Carolina receive any preferential federal aid if climate change concerns are off the table?); and puts yet another nail in coal’s coffin by obliterating any justification to fund CO2 capture technologies.

Trump Paris About-Face Likely To Hurt, Not Help Nuclear, Coal Sectors

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