September 29, 2017 Read More →

U.S. Energy Secretary Calls for Subsidies to Keep Coal, Nuclear Afloat

Reuters:

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has asked federal regulators to provide price incentives to help keep coal and nuclear power plants open, as a way to address “risks” to the resilience of the electrical grid, the Department of Energy said on Friday.

The move drew praise from the coal and nuclear power industries, but raised alarm bells among renewable energy groups and environmentalists concerned that such incentives were unfair and could lead to an increase in pollution.

Perry asked FERC to issue a rule within 60 days to allow baseload plants that provide nonstop power and maintain at least 90 days of fuel supply on site to fully recover their costs through regulated pricing.

A FERC official did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Perry commissioned a study in April to evaluate whether “regulatory burdens” imposed by past administrations, including that of former President Barack Obama, had hurt the grid by forcing shutdowns of baseload plants.

That report, released last month, urged that incentives be used to boost coal-fired and nuclear plants, and blamed recent closures on competition with cheaper natural gas and growth of solar and wind power.

The American Wind Energy Association blasted the effort, saying it would “upend competitive markets.”

“The best way to guarantee a resilient and reliable electric grid is through market-based compensation for performance, not guaranteed payments for some, based on a government-prescribed definition,” AWEA spokeswoman Amy Farrell said.

More: U.S. energy chief urges incentives to help coal, nuke power plants

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