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Trump orders 'immediate steps' to boost coal, nuclear plants

Trump orders 'immediate steps' to boost coal, nuclear plants

The White House-sponsored DoE memo reportedly states that "too many of these fuel-secure plants have retired prematurely and many more have recently announced retirement", while declaring that the replacement of coal and nuclear plants by natural gas and renewable power in the U.S. is not secure.

The draft memo laying out the directive doesn't give a specific amount operators would have to spend but says it will be enough to keep the facilities open for the next two years, saying that USA national security "relies on a robust US domestic industrial base, of which the coal, nuclear, and oil and natural gas industries are critical strategic components".

Over the two years in question, DoE officials would ostensibly research U.S. power grid network vulnerabilities, using the study as a justification to keep unprofitable and polluting power plants running as a matter of national security, according to Bloomberg.

Manchin said Friday he is glad Trump is considering his idea to support coal-fired and nuclear plants under the Defense Production Act.

Federal action is necessary to stop the further premature retirements of fuel-secure generation capacity. Abusing this authority to bail out uneconomic power plants for such an extended time makes no sense, especially when most regions of the country are awash with excess electricity.

The Energy Department action, if ordered, would represent an unprecedented intervention into USA energy markets. "The Defense Production Act grants the president the authority to ensure that the nation's domestic industrial base is capable of providing the essential materials and resources needed to defend our nation and protect our sovereignty, and it recognizes energy production and critical infrastructure as strategic and crucial to that goal".

During that time, the DOE would conduct a study of vulnerabilities in the USA power grid system. Trump has directed Perry "to prepare immediate steps to stop the loss of these resources and looks forward to his recommendations".

In August 2017, Murray sent the White House a letter spelling out his industry's woes and complaining that his pleas had not yet been answered by the Trump administration.

Underlying the plan to support the beleaguered coal and nuclear industries is the theory that they provide more stable and resilient sources of electricity than renewable sources like wind and solar power and than natural gas. But the agency said that most of the coal powered plants that closed were "relatively old and small".

The administration says the move will prevent coal and nuclear power plants critical to the electrical grid from closing, but opponents say the requirement is essentially a bailout for a dying industry that the president promised to save and will cause Americans' electricity bills to get more expensive.

Faced with a rear-guard action of saving a heavily-polluting industry, $43 billion publicly-traded coal and nuclear plant operator FirstEnergy - noted in part for its behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign attempting to eliminate a law that required utilities to assist in electricity efficiency programs for customers - demanded the DOE use its emergency order to bail out a company subsidiary just before it went bankrupt.

Also supporting the Trump administration's decision was Sen.

"Arbitrary market interventions of this sort have no place in the electricity structure that has kept American electric power reliable and affordable", Wetstone says. Critics also suggested Trump has political motivations for propping up outmoded technologies, because coal company executives have been among his big financial backers.

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