July 10, 2018 Read More →

Coal groups battle bailout tag, up lobbying efforts on ‘value’

Washington Examiner:

The coal industry is ramping up a campaign this summer to erase the “bailout” label that has become synonymous with the Trump administration’s push to save economically ailing coal power plants, while reinforcing the case for keeping coal in the nation’s energy mix.

“We are just trying to correct the record,” said Michelle Bloodworth, the newly appointed president and CEO of the pro-coal industry group American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. Bloodworth’s group is upping its efforts this summer to reverse the characterizations that accounting for the value of the coal fleet would constitute a subsidy or government-backed bailout for the coal industry.

A coalition of trade organizations representing every sector from oil and natural gas to solar panel manufacturers has opposed the idea of using either market-based incentives or rarely invoked emergency powers to keep coal plants from closing over the next three years.

“We are trying to say, we don’t think it is” a bailout, said Bloodworth. “We think it’s more about ‘valuing,’ and that can be done in a market approach” that rewards “attributes” of coal plants that help the grid and consumers.

The National Mining Association is also looking to draw support for keeping the nation’s coal fleet operational, blaming the markets for favoring one form of energy over another. “We are heading towards a reliability and resiliency crisis point of no return,” said an official with the mining trade group speaking on background.

An additional 12,000 megawatts of coal-fired electricity is expected to close by the end of this year. “That’s enough capacity to power 8 million homes,” the official said. “We need decisive action to preserve the reliable, affordable energy that continues to slip away each day.”

More: Coal groups dig in to save power plants

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