June 6, 2018 Read More →

PJM’s Glazer pans Trump’s coal, nuclear bailout plan

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):

The federal policy coordinator of the U.S.’s largest regional grid operator asserted that moves by the Trump administration to support struggling coal-fired and nuclear power plants worsens a “headache” over accommodating public policies and state-mandated energy subsidies in competitive markets. “The actions of President [Donald] Trump and Energy Secretary [Rick] Perry … complicates this issue even more,” Craig Glazer, the PJM Interconnection’s vice president of federal government policy, told attendees of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s 2018 annual conference in Washington, D.C., on June 4.

Glazer expressed concern over what he perceived as “plant-by-plant” and “state-by-state” piecemeal re-regulation of electricity markets that puts the power industry in a dangerous position between deregulation and regulation. “You have competitive generation…competing with regulated subsidized generation,” said Glazer. “I’m not sure that is sustainable, to be honest. It leads to skewed investment signals.”

Glazer warned industry and policymakers of the dangers of nostalgically pining for “the good old days” of regulation.

“We didn’t restructure this market to pick technologies; we restructured this market to drive efficiencies in technologies and that’s what the market is doing,” said Glazer. “If the policymakers decide that they want to back a particular technology, they can do that. We’ve done that in the past. It hasn’t always worked but if we want to go back… to some of those, we can do that.”

In addition to today’s competitive markets efficiently driving investments, such as the shift to using more natural gas-fired power plants to provide baseload power instead of just peaking power, Glazer said deregulation has required investors to take on more risk, instilled more market transparency, and led to more regional planning. “The challenge for all of us is to make this restructured industry work, rather than make it a golden memory of yesteryear,” said Glazer.

More ($): US grid operator’s subsidy ‘headache’ worsened by Trump bid to save coal, nukes 

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