July 23, 2018 Read More →

Ohio gas developer and Trump supporter blasts coal bailout

The Vindicator:

The day after becoming the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee in May 2016, Donald Trump made a promise at a campaign event in Charleston, W.Va. “We’re going to put the miners back to work,” he said, as thousands of coal miners got to their feet. “We are going to get those mines open.”

Watching the speech on television, Bill Siderewicz was bewildered. “I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’” said Siderewicz, president of Boston-based Clean Energy Future LLC, which operates numerous gas-fired, wholesale electricity generation plants in Ohio and is bringing a $900 million natural-gas power plant to the village [of Lordstown].

Lordstown Energy Center, located on a site in the Lordstown Industrial Park, is slated to be up and running next month, and Clean Energy Future has plans to invest a similar amount into building a second plant nearby. An energy policy proposed by the Trump administration, however, could derail plans for the second Lordstown plant and send companies such as his running from Ohio, Siderewicz said.

Although Siderewicz voted for Trump, he had hoped the president would stay away from the energy industry if elected. Siderewicz is now sounding the alarm on the potential negative impacts of the policy. He said a bailout of the coal industry would shatter Ohio’s competitive energy market, endanger investments in gas-fired plants and cost consumers and businesses billions in higher electricity rates.

“Everyone [who] has an IQ of more than 25 is upset about this,” Siderewicz said. “This is so un-American.”

In 2009, coal fueled 45 percent of the country’s electricity production, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. By 2017, that share had dropped to 30 percent. “In electricity generation – the key market for coal – the industry is increasingly uncompetitive and is losing market share,” wrote David Schlissel, IEEFA director of resource planning analysis and lead author on a report titled U.S. Coal: More Market Erosion Is on the Way. “Further declines in coal’s energy generation market share can be expected through 2018 and beyond,” he wrote.

More: Trump’s energy proposal could derail plans in Lordstown

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