FERC rejects 'multi-billion-dollar bailout' of coal and nuclear plants

FERC rejects 'multi-billion-dollar bailout' of coal and nuclear plants

The Republican-controlled Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or FERC unexpectedly and unanimously rejected Energy Secretary Rick Perry's plan to boost nuclear plants and slow down the closure of coal-powered plants. Perry spoke of "fair compensation" to stop the "imminent loss" of power generation capacity with on-site fuel supplies, mainly coal and nuclear power plants, and of "severe consequences" for the grid coming from additional shut-downs.

It directs operators of the regional wholesale power markets, also known in the United States as regional transmission organisations (RTOs) and independent system operators (ISOs), to help FERC determine whether additional action on resilience of the bulk power system is in fact needed.

Katie Niebaum, executive director of the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association, which has grown into a major promote of renewable energy and the Arkansas businesses that work in the field, called the ruling a victory for free markets.

However, the Regulatory Commission said that Perry's arguments were unfounded.

In a response to the FERC decision, Secretary Perry said that diverse fuel supply, especially with onsite fuel capability, is key for ensuring that Americans have reliable, resilient and affordable electricity and that "it is not debatable".

Murray says the recent cold snap that hit the East Coast showed coal's value, as power users in the Southeast were asked to cut back on electricity usage because of a shortage of natural gas.

"There is no evidence in the record to suggest that temporarily delaying the retirement of uncompetitive coal and nuclear generators would meaningfully improve the resilience of the grid", wrote Commissioner Richard Glick, concurring with the agency's decision to reject the proposal. As one example, he noted last week's forced shutdown of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in MA due to a power line that failed during extreme cold weather. "It was about protecting the bank accounts of plant owners at the expense of everyday Americans". Throughout its territory, more than 40 new gas-fired generating plants are planned or operating, displacing coal-fueled plants and threatening nuclear plants.

Seth Meyers Nailed His Golden Globes Monologue
Quoth Meyers: "The only name that could make him angrier is the Hillary Mexico Salad Association". Meyers then took aim at Golden Globe and Oscar victor Spacey.

Rather than driving up energy prices to support coal, the administration should ensure the flexibility of the grid to provide power based on the best current and future technology, at the best price for consumers. Tech giant Apple weighed in Monday against the proposal, saying it would inhibit innovation and competition and interfere with plans to increase use of "clean energy" such as wind and solar power.

Left unsaid: One of Trump's largest financial backers, and perhaps the loudest advocate in his ear for coal country, Robert Murray, would have benefitted massively from the rule.

"I fear that we will now immediately observe the announcement of further decommissioning of nuclear and coal-fired electricity generation that will further exacerbate this critical situation", Mr. Murray added.

"The Commission's endorsement of markets does not conflict with its oversight of reliability, and the Commission has been able to focus on both without compromising its commitment to either", the FERC said in an order.

A spokesman for Murray Energy declined to comment Monday.

"They voted 5-0 to address resiliency".

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