Depending on what the Trump administration decides, an intervention to prop up unprofitable coal and nuclear plants could cost consumers between $311 million to $11.8 billion per year, according to a preliminary estimate by Robbie Orvis, director of energy policy design at Energy Innovation.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Bloomberg News in a statement that the president had ordered the Department of Energy (DOE) to take the measures due to a national security interest in securing the national power grid's resilience.
Citing national security concerns, US President Donald Trump's administration is working on a fresh plan to subsidize coal and nuclear plants, a move critics say is unnecessary and will drive up energy costs.
Over dozens of pages, the memo makes the case for action, arguing that the decommissioning of power plants must be managed for national security reasons and that federal intervention is necessary before the USA reaches a tipping point in the loss of essential, secure electric generation resources.
Trump administration officials are making plans to order grid operators to buy electricity from struggling coal and nuclear plants in an effort to extend their life, a move that could represent an unprecedented intervention into US energy markets.
The memo added that "federal action is necessary to stop the further premature retirements of fuel-secure generation capacity". Under a 2010 agreement, Portland General Electric plans to shut Oregon's only coal-fired power plant in Boardman in 2020.
"Orderly power plant retirements do not constitute an emergency for our electric grid", said Amy Farrell, vice-president of the American Wind Energy Association.
Maria Korsnick, president and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute, applauded Friday the administration's effort to retain nuclear facilities as national security assets though she admitted to not having seen the details of the reported proposal. This time, Perry is planning to resort to federal emergency measures typically employed during wartime or natural disasters, according to Bloomberg.
The placation of private thermal power companies from the Ministry comes in the wake of government's decision to make "out of turn coal allocation to government thermal power plant", which private power companies have labelled as "discriminatory and a distortion of a level playing ground based on ownership of the power generation plants".
The Energy Department action, if ordered, would represent an unprecedented intervention into US energy markets.
As recent extreme weather events show, the ongoing loss of additional coal-fired and nuclear power will pose a significant risk to the electric grid because these units provide resilience and essential reliability services to our nation's electric grid - indispensable attributes to the delivery of electricity in our country. Nationwide, BNEF said, two dozen nuclear plants - representing almost 33 gigawatts - are either scheduled to close or probably won't make money through 2021. The two-year time-frame would also allow time for this ridiculous action to be fully implemented while Trump is still in office, making good on his campaign promise to revive the ailing and half-dead coal industry in this country.
"This action is essential in order to protect the resiliency and reliability of our nation's electric power grids", Murray said Friday in an email. Ohio-based FirstEnergy is the largest customer for Murray's Ohio-based coal company and has joined with Murray to seek federal help. It relies on authorities given to the executive branch in the Defense Production Act of 1950 and the Federal Power Act.
As Trump's fossil-fuel energy mouthpiece, Perry earlier commissioned a study to identify regulatory causes for coal-plant closures, but no regulations were found; instead, cheap natural gas was observed to be responsible for widespread industry decline.