October 1, 2017

Perry wants to prop up coal and nuclear power

Common Dreams - U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry's proposal to ensure "a reliable, resilient electric grid" by propping up nuclear and coal power plants is being met with condemnation by environmental advocacy groups who says it's based on an erroneous argument and spells bad news for customers and the climate alike.

"[Sec. Perry's proposal] would essentially ensure that coal and nuclear plants in regions encompassing most of the country continue to run even where they are too expensive to compete in the energy market. It would saddle utility customers with higher costs, while posing obstacles to the electricity system integration of cleaner and less risky energy sources such as solar and wind." —Miles Farmer, NRDC

The Hill describes it as the most definitive action "yet by the Trump administration to try to save coal and nuclear plants," as it asks the independent agency to make a rule that "independent system operators and regional transmission organizations—the entities that operate regional electric grids... be required when signing wholesale electricity contracts to allow certain 'resilient' power plants to get a 'fair rate of return,' even when prices would otherwise be lower."

"To make his case," explains ThinkProgress' Joe Romm, "Perry has fabricated an economic threat to U.S. grid reliability from cheap renewables and then proposed a rule to account for the imaginary reliability benefit of other electricity sources—all the while ignoring the actual health and environmental costs of carbon pollution from burning coal that aren't priced in to the market yet."

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