Friday, June 1, 2018

Trump Orders DOE To Take Steps To Prevent The Loss Of Coal, Nuclear And Fuel-Secure Power Generation Facilities

President Trump Friday directed the U.S. Department of Energy to prepare immediate steps to stop the retirements of what he called “fuel-secure power facilities” like coal and nuclear electric power generating facilities.
In a statement to the press, the White House spokesperson said, “President Donald J. Trump believes in total energy independence and dominance, and that keeping America’s energy grid and infrastructure strong and secure protects our national security, public safety, and economy from intentional attacks and natural disasters.
“Unfortunately, impending retirements of fuel-secure power facilities are leading to a rapid depletion of a critical part of our Nation’s energy mix, and impacting the resilience of our power grid.”
Late Thursday Bloomberg News obtain a draft DOE memo that outlined a plan where the Energy Department would exercise emergency authority to purchase electricity or electric generation capacity from at-risk facilities over a two-year period.
No final memo has been released by DOE.
In response to the President’s direction, the PJM Interconnection released this statement--
“Our analysis of the recently announced planned deactivations of certain nuclear plants has determined that there is no immediate threat to system reliability. Markets have helped to establish a reliable grid with historically low prices.
“Any federal intervention in the market to order customers to buy electricity from specific power plants would be damaging to the markets and therefore costly to consumers.
“There is no need for any such drastic action. PJM just released the results of its capacity auction, which secured reliable supplies through 2021/2022.
“The auction results saw an increase in the amount of coal resources that cleared the market, along with a diverse mix of natural gas generation, nuclear generation, renewable resources, demand response and energy efficiency.
“The PJM electrical grid is more reliable than ever, with 23 percent reserve margins and billions of dollars of new investment. All of this is occurring while emissions are decreasing and wholesale prices are at historic lows for the 65 million consumers we serve.
“From 2008 to 2017, wholesale prices in PJM fell by more than 40 percent. Competition has required generators to operate more efficiently while also attracting new, more efficient technology, resulting in more than $1.4 billion in annual savings.
“We have acknowledged the concerns raised by officials and regulators about the long-term resilience of the grid and we are embarking on a fuel security initiative that we announced just a few weeks ago.
“Our goal with that initiative is to ensure that the already reliable electric grid will continue to remain both reliable and resilient for years into the future without the need for government intervention in the marketplace.”
In Pennsylvania
FirstEnergy (Beaver Valley) and Exelon (Three Mile Island) have both announced plans to close nuclear power plants in the face of a market for electricity they say does not properly consider the environmental benefits these plants offer in terms of reduced greenhouse gas and other emissions.
The Senate-House Nuclear Energy Caucus has held a series of hearings on the economic and environmental impacts of these and other nuclear power plants closing in Pennsylvania.

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