Department of Energy Proposes Purchasing Electricity from Specific Coal and Nuclear Power Plants to Prevent their “Premature” Retirement

Jun 8, 2018

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently submitted a proposal to the White House in which it suggests purchasing electricity from several coal and nuclear power plants to strengthen the grid and prevent the “premature” retirement of these power-generating facilities. The proposal, asserts that resilience of the grid relies on a sturdy source of power, and that “Recent and announced retirements of fuel-secure electric generation capacity across the continental United States are undermining the security of the electric power system because the system’s resilience depends on those resources.”

On its website, the Environmental Protection Agency lists the burning of fossil fuels for electricity production, including coal, contributed almost 30 percent to greenhouse gas emissions in 2016. Consequently, news of this proposal drew swift condemnation from the energy sector, with a group of oil, gas, solar, wind and energy trade groups coming together to release a set of joint statements in opposition.

The 41 page proposal’s success is contingent on the DOE exerting its emergency authority as laid out under the Defense Product Act of 1950 and the Federal Power Act. Under these pieces of legislation, the DOE can instruct grid operators to purchase power from specific “subject generation facilities” to ensure that they remain open. It has been reported that many of these facilities are owned by political allies of President Trump in the coal industry. 

To view the draft proposal, click here:

To view the energy sector’s response, click here:

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