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Energy groups join together to condemn Trump’s plan to subsidize nuclear, coal plants

Public Policy

Today, President Trump asked the Department of Energy to take steps in preventing coal and nuclear plants from retiring.

“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,” said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. “President Trump has directed Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to prepare immediate steps to stop the loss of these resources, and looks forward to his recommendations.”

A draft memo was also released today, detailing a plan to bail out coal and nuclear plants across the country. A diverse group of energy industry associations including energy efficiency and storage, natural gas, oil, solar and wind issued the following statement.

Christopher Mansour, Solar Energy Industries Association Vice President of Federal Affairs (SEIA):
“A policy to spend billions of dollars keeping uneconomic power plants afloat, while trying to put clean and affordable solar on the sidelines, is not a recipe for economic success. Energy experts across a range of industries, within the federal government and in academia have agreed that this sort of effort will create a bloated power sector deploying outmoded technologies. We urge policymakers to again block this ill-advised effort to keep plants running that most electric utilities have already decided to abandon, and for good reason.”

Todd Snitchler, American Petroleum Institute Market Development Group Director (API):
“The administration’s draft plan to provide government assistance to those coal and nuclear power plants that are struggling to be profitable under the guise of national security would be unprecedented and misguided. The natural gas and oil industry is committed to strengthening national security and is playing a leading role in reducing our decades long dependence on foreign energy. As the world’s largest producer and refiner of oil and natural gas, which today is the number one source of U.S. electricity, our nation is on track to achieve the President’s vision for energy dominance. However, unprecedented government intervention in the energy markets to support high cost generation will put achieving that vision in jeopardy and hurt customers by taking more money out of their pockets rather than letting people keep more of what they earn – a key priority of this administration. Cleaner and abundant U.S. natural gas and the infrastructure that supports it is powering one in three homes and businesses today and serving as a critical partner in renewable generation. As an industry we stand ready to do our part to protect our nation’s energy and national security.”

Malcolm Woolf, Advanced Energy Economy Senior Vice President of Policy (AEE):
“The Administration’s plan to federalize the electric power system is an exercise in crony capitalism taken solely for the benefit of a bankrupt power plant owner and its coal supplier. It would be a command-and-control mechanism that fundamentally disrupts and undermines the competitive electricity markets that have improved our electricity system’s reliability, resilience, and affordability, while fostering innovation. As has been well established – by FERC, by grid operators, by industry experts – there is no emergency that would justify propping up uneconomic power plants that are superfluous in an over-supplied region. The Administration’s plan to alter competitive electricity market outcomes through the use of narrow emergency authorities crafted by Congress to protect the nation from true imminent threats to electric reliability is wholly unprecedented and legally indefensible. We will fight this needless energy tax on businesses and families with every tool at our disposal.”

Todd Foley, American Council on Renewable Energy Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs (ACORE):
“The Administration’s draft plan for potential emergency action would be unwarranted, and would actually undermine competitive markets, raising electricity costs to consumers and businesses across the country. Arbitrary market interventions deprive businesses of the certainty they need to invest in power plants of all types, harming not helping electric reliability. We strongly urge the Administration to reject this ill-conceived draft plan and adopt a policy approach that promotes market forces and competition in our nation’s power system, which is the central approach to assure a reliable and affordable grid system in the future.”

Amy Farrell, American Wind Energy Association Senior Vice President for Government and Public Affairs (AWEA):
“Independent energy regulators, grid operators and other experts have gone on the record to declare that orderly power plant retirements do NOT constitute an emergency for our electric grid. Infrastructure and processes are already in place to ensure that remains the case. The reported proposal would be a misapplication of emergency powers, there’s certainly no credible justification to force American taxpayers to bailout uneconomic power plants.”

Lisa Jacobson, Business Council for Sustainable Energy President (BCSE):
“Resilience and reliability issues are paramount to the electric sector. The portfolio of currently available clean energy technologies and services in the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors – working with other technologies and services – is meeting the needs of the grid affordably and reliably today and can meet the needs of an evolving electric grid into the future. The actions under consideration would impose unnecessary costs on consumers and businesses through increased electricity bills.”

John Hughes, Electricity Consumers Resources Council President and CEO (ELCON):
“Any action taken by the Department of Energy today to use 202(c) and DPA to prop up uneconomic coal and nuclear plants is unnecessary, anticompetitive and would increase the price of electricity to businesses and consumers, resulting in a substantial loss of U.S. manufacturing capacity jobs.”

John E. Shelk, President and CEO, Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA):
“There was no emergency when coal and nuclear interests sought federal relief and there is none today that justifies such unprecedented Executive Branch intervention in the economic life of the country.  The economic consequences are profound for power suppliers and consumers.  This proposed federal action is a bell that cannot be called back once it is rung.  Forever more suppliers and consumers will be at the whim of the fuel preferences of whoever happens to be in office.  This needlessly raises costs for consumers and merely shifts the risk of premature retirement to newer, more efficient power plants that compete with coal and nuclear.”

Kelly Speakes-Backman, Energy Storage Association CEO (ESA):
“The Energy Storage Association (ESA) strongly advocates for open and fair competition for all market participants that rely on consistent and stable price formation signals. Any action that undermines market stability to support new entrants like energy storage – resources that enhance grid resilience and reduce costs to consumers – will erode opportunities to create a more reliable and resilient, efficient, sustainable and affordable grid.”

Dena E. Wiggins, Natural Gas Supply Association President and CEO (NGSA):
“Propping up aging and uneconomic power plants through the Defense Production Act, the Federal Power Act or other unnecessary federal intervention is a short-sighted action that drives up customer costs and undermines well-functioning power markets.  It is an inappropriate use of the federal government’s emergency powers that is even more egregious when even the regional power grid authorities at PJM say there is no emergency.  We need to move away from a narrow focus on resuscitating individual projects and refocus the discussion on what lies at the heart of resiliency – the ability to reliably serve power customers in the most cost-efficient manner over both the short and the long-term.”

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25 Comments on "Energy groups join together to condemn Trump’s plan to subsidize nuclear, coal plants"

  1. Mark on Fri, 1st Jun 2018 3:21 pm 

    Electric power generation by nuclear power wouldn’t exist without massive subsidies. The fossil fuel power generated ones also are subsided via the tax code and it’s monopolistic setup in general. Trump is playing to voters/special interest that supported him in 2016.
    A lot of the nukes have been operated past their useful life times, will have to be decommissioned soon anyway. With natural gas being inexpensive (currently anyway) utilities will head that direction for new power plants….unless of course they are paid (via taxpayers) to do something else.

  2. MASTERMIND on Fri, 1st Jun 2018 3:55 pm 

    Trump is moving us towards a planned economy..That’s called Socialism…

  3. Antius on Fri, 1st Jun 2018 4:07 pm 

    “Electric power generation by nuclear power wouldn’t exist without massive subsidies.”

    Coal and nuclear power plants are not being driven out of business because power from intermittent renewable energy sources is cheap. These presently make up a small share of total power generation. But when they do generate, they get guaranteed place on the grid, displacing more dispatchable power plants and robbing them of market share. But renewable energy sources depend upon fossil fuel power plants for backup, so if they go down the grid goes down, hence the need for subsidies to baseload coal and nuclear.

    The greater culprit is natural gas from shale. Combined cycle gas turbine power plants have low capital and operating costs. If fuel is cheap too, then gas generated electricity will be cheaper than anything else on the market. The problem with allowing it to drive other forms of generation to the wall is that it is an inherently finite resource. At present rates of consumption, US natural gas reserves will last about 20 years. Not something that any sane person would peg the indefinite future on.

  4. Cloggie on Fri, 1st Jun 2018 4:09 pm 

    June 12: Trump vs Rocketman, it’s going to happen.

  5. Antius on Fri, 1st Jun 2018 4:15 pm 

    “A lot of the nukes have been operated past their useful life times, will have to be decommissioned soon anyway.”

    For most of these power plants, capital investment costs are long since paid off. With nuclear fuel being cheap, they undercut every other form of generation save natural gas. But to be profitable they need consistent baseload market share, because costs are about the same whether they generate at full power or not at all. That is why nuclear plants tend to be used for baseload. If costs are fixed, you may as well generate as much as you can.

  6. MASTERMIND on Fri, 1st Jun 2018 4:43 pm 

    Trump is using socialism ie bail out..To save the coal industry now. He is turning us into a planned economy..

  7. Anonymouse1 on Fri, 1st Jun 2018 5:46 pm 

    The uS has long subsidized coal-gas-nuclear. The infantile trump has little, if anything to do with life-extensions granted for amerika’s decrepit nuclear plants. Successive uS regimes, regardless of who speaks for them, their public posturing or their PR aura, have endorsed such extensions-for decades. Hardly anyone raised an eyebrow or suggested doing otherwise. The only ones (publicly)suggesting these plants be closed, dont work for the NRC or the uS regime in general.

  8. Kevin Cobley on Fri, 1st Jun 2018 8:01 pm 

    A weird Keynesian Communist plan to bankroll failed corporations in a new “planned economy”.

  9. dave thompson on Sat, 2nd Jun 2018 12:42 am 

    Yea kind of a dumb article. Most of us know that the massive corporate energy industry has always relied on public subsidies of tax dollars. This includes the alt energy industry as well. Wind,solar and the rest. Anyone remember how Hoover dam was built and who paid for it?

  10. deadly on Sat, 2nd Jun 2018 12:52 am 

    Energy groups joining together to whine about Trump, just like everybody else is doing.

    They should join together and drink, party, have some fun. Quit whining about Trump, you sound like a broken record. Get real. He’s a nut, not to difficult to see that. Get over it.

    A lot of toxic waste in the renewables, especially solar and wind. Going to have to have a gigantic amount of room in landfills when those 400 foot tall wind towers live out their useful lives, and everything does. The solar panels will one day become worn out, done for, gotta go, be gone. It will all happen in the future when it will be too late, makes for a bleak, dreary future for humankind.

    Another white elephant in the energy business, eventually, nobody is going to want all of those useless wind towers standing there doing nothing. It will get old before it gets old.

    Every new car is headed for the junkyard.

    It’s a cruel world.

    Every single wind turbine is headed for the salvage yard too. Every single photovoltaic cell is future junk. Something lying eyes won’t ever see.

    When you are dealing with nuclear arsenals, you need personnel that are using LSD.

    You get your Dr. Strangelove that way. Part of the training in the official manual.

    Must be in the job description.

    Don’t you need nuclear physicists to run a nuclear power plant and also the nuclear arsenal?

    Can’t have nuclear power without some people involved in the science, finding and mining uraniferous soils, what not, those kinds of efforts to make nuclear power happen are necessary.

    You need people like J. Robert Oppenheimer, Albert Einstein, actual nuclear physicists/scientists to have something like nuclear power. Some are even Russian and you have to keep a close eye on those nutjobs.

    I doubt Einstein was using acid, but I could be wrong.

    Donald Trump is the stupid drunk neighbor walking the neighborhood yelling at the top of his lungs how much he hates Donald Trump, not a nuclear physicist.

    Not even close.

    Got to have extremely competent people with brains to have nuclear power, whatever form, bombs or power plants, you need brain power to get ‘er done.

    Hasn’t it been estimated that the amount of fossil fuels used to build and run a nuclear power plant are just as much as any other kind of baseload power plant generating electricity?

    The emissions are CO2-free from the plant itself, but still does pump CO2 into the atmosphere just from the necessity of operations and maintenance. Got to have a 3/4 ton pickup truck to get to work cleaning the floors at the nuclear facility.

    Still have the problem of nuclear waste. Elon Musk can start launching the unwanted in anybody’s backyard nuclear waste into deep space along with every Tesla built.

    Actually, a super cool car if you have ever seen one. A Tesla just has a propensity to self-immolate at times or thinks it is driving itself but it’s not.

    A car that runs on energy from coal in the form of electricity, can’t really have that, that is kind of cheating. Still using fossil fuels. Another waste that meets everyone’s approval, still disgusting and obscene, yet again, one more time.

    No cognitive dissonance there. None.

    ‘Yeah, I drive a Tesla and I am one mean green dunce-capped clueless fool.’

    Uber’s latest incident is enough reason to go out and buy your own car, you can’t depend on other people for transportation, it can get you killed.

    Another hard day on the planet.

  11. Davy on Sat, 2nd Jun 2018 5:35 am 

    Most people are uneducated hypocrites when it comes to NUK and Coal. Most people even here are stupid to the realities of energy, economics, and collapse. Most people make no efforts to reduce consumption but have no problem voicing opinions. Most reproduce according to ability or wants which is likely more destructive than coal or nuke when scaled to 7BIL. In regards to national energy policy and because people really don’t care about personal energy sacrifice efforts then maintaining all types of energy delivery systems at some smart level. Energy resilience for extending life if we are likely doomed anyway means maintaining baseline power to accommodate more renewables. Fake greens howl and moan about fossil fuels as they play their fake green games of thinking they are consuming more with less. What happens quite often is more with more. We are just playing games as we slow boil into collapse.

  12. Go Speed Racer on Sat, 2nd Jun 2018 7:45 am 

    Trump will bring back coal plants,
    AND he will mix together lots of
    garbage, and old furniture,
    old tires, sofa cushions and La-Z-Boy recliners, with the coal from the trains.

    AND remove all those dumb stack-scrubbers,
    so we get a nice big rooster-tail of
    thick black smoke out the stacks.

    Visible from outer space,
    making America Great Again!

    We need garbage fires again.
    Donate to Trump for President 2020.
    Here is the link:

    Once U decide on the amount,
    make sure you make your donation
    ‘automatic monthly repeating’.

    But when the website asks “dont you want
    to double what you just pledged” only
    hit “yes” if you’re rich.

  13. Cloggie on Sat, 2nd Jun 2018 12:34 pm

    8 existing UK windfarms to be extended (3 GW)

    Chinese poll public acceptance autonomous car. This is what we are talking about in China: mobility market in China alone will be worth $500 billion by 2030.

    “asked 499 people in the city of Tianjin to rate the level of risk they were willing to accept when it comes to riding in a car with a human driver or a self-driving car. The tolerance for risk was expressed either in terms of fatalities per kilometers driven or fatalities per population size. Respondents were asked to accept or reject each traffic risk scenario at one of four levels — never accept, hard to accept, easy to accept, or fully accept, according to Science Daily.”

    Results: “The researchers found that people are willing to accept autonomous vehicles if they are 4 to 5 times safer than a car with a human driver. In other words, they should be able to reduce the danger of death or injury while driving by 75% to 80% — more than Shashua wants, less than Musk seems happy with. In other words, people are comfortable with the idea of self-driving vehicles if the risk factor is roughly the same as it is today for other public modes of transportation such as buses, railroads, and airplanes. ”

    40% US power needs could be serviced with rooftop panels alone (NREL). You need less than 1% of the US territory to replace 100% US fossil for electricity production (100 x 100 miles). For 24/7 guaranteed supply security you need 1 square mile worth of batteries.

  14. Cloggie on Sat, 2nd Jun 2018 12:39 pm

    Deutsche Post uses e-vans for postal deliveries. They have their own factory to produce so-called “StreetScooters”.

    Now they are going to build a second factory:

    “7 Signs Of Positive Climate Progress”

    “In The Year Since Trump Announced Withdrawal From Paris Climate Agreement, The World Is Moving On”

  15. diemos on Sat, 2nd Jun 2018 2:28 pm 

    Spending tax payer money to mothball the nukes instead of decommissioning them would be the best thing Trump has done for the country. I might even forgive him for existing.

  16. Manila1 on Sat, 2nd Jun 2018 6:53 pm 

    More important to Americans…
    “The world’s push towards de-dollarization continues to accelerate as Americans go about their daily lives worrying more about blasphemous comedians, participation trophies, and Kim and Kanye’s traitorous behavior. … From yuan-denominated oil futures (and soon to be yuan-denominated metals contracts) to Europe’s decision to use Yuan to pay for Iranian oil; and from non-dollar settlement systems for Russia/Chinese trade to Turkey’s call for citizens to dump the dollar, it appears each action of the Trump administration deepens the distrust in the dollar hegemony, coalescing the world against Washington’s reserve currency unipolar order. … There has been a general consensus among some eastern and southern African countries that there should be more usage of the Chinese yuan in the region because of China’s growing influence in business and trade, a financial expert said Thursday. … Even The World Bank’s former chief economist wants to replace the US dollar with a single global super-currency, saying it will create a more stable global financial system.”

    Slip slidin’…

  17. Davy on Sat, 2nd Jun 2018 7:17 pm 

    More 3rd world humor:

    “De-Dollarization Escalates: “African Economy Needs More Usage Of Chinese Yuan”

    “The people who have been listening to and believing ZH on this subject over the years, they would now believe the dollar stopped being the global reserve 3 years ago or more.
    What we do not get from any of the articles:
    What percentage of African international trade is in the dollar, yuan and ruble.
    What percentage of Russian international trade is in the dollar, yuan, ruble and euro.
    What percentage of Chinese international trade is in the dollar, yuan and ruble.
    What percentage of total international oil sales is in the dollar,yuan, ruble and euro.
    What percentage of total international trade is done outside of SWIFT.
    Questions that come up:
    Why is Russia unable to do international trade without the dollar.
    Why has Russia been unable to even trade with Iran without the dollar.
    Why is Russia still to this day dependent upon SWIFT.
    Why is Russia just now contemplating possibly maybe doing trade with Iran using the Euro – someday.”

  18. GregT on Sat, 2nd Jun 2018 10:24 pm 


    ( all caps makes sombody else’s opinion even more meaningful 🙂 )

    One thing’s for sure. The African continents countries know the US dollar is poison to them. The blacks are slaves in the US and the African countries are slaves to the US banks. Africans saw what happened to any country that tried to break loose and use gold. All invaded, leaders dead. China is relief, because they are a third party with horsepower. They know the US messes directly with China if they mess with Africa due to the currency change. With this change coming in, out goes the US dollar right out the window. Won’t be long before the US sucker, I mean taxpayer, sees bad effects happen at home. That special “stabilization” fund the Fed established and uses to smooth out US Treasury auctions is going to be tested to the max real soon.

  19. GregT on Sun, 3rd Jun 2018 1:52 am 

    “Most reproduce according to ability or wants which is likely more destructive than coal or nuke when scaled to 7BIL.”

    Says the guy who tells everyone that he has two young sons when he’s in his late 50’s.

    You’re a hypocrite Davy, through and through.

  20. Davy on Sun, 3rd Jun 2018 5:48 am 

    “Says the guy who tells everyone that he has two young sons when he’s in his late 50’s. You’re a hypocrite Davy, through and through.”

    Where did I say I didn’t or was holier than thou stupid? I am expressing the obvious case of most of humanity, besides does it matter when society is not going to change? You are grasping with your attacks greggiee. The translation of that is you got a good bitch slapping yesterday. Mission accomplished.

  21. Dredd on Sun, 3rd Jun 2018 4:48 pm 

    Economy is not the only issue (The Bathtub Model Doesn’t Hold Water – 5).

    Life and death is also part of the equation.

  22. TheNationalist on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 4:20 am 

    Yes Yes !, all the lefty poofters blame Trump for everything. Then they jump in their 6Litre Chrysler and drive back to the McMansion.
    Undereducated hysterical masses dominate the airwaves, even Germain Greer is starting to distance herself from these ‘progressives’.

  23. TheNationalist on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 4:31 am 

    Newsflash! Read all about it!
    KGB admits everything !
    Trump born in St Petersburg in 1944 !
    Real name Boris Trump! / aka Blofeld!
    Boris T. owns a white cat and plots world domination !
    All Progressivesnessess to be banned by next Wednesday!
    Holy Shit!

  24. Cloggie on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 5:48 am 

    On top of that Melanie is back!

  25. Dredd on Mon, 4th Jun 2018 7:18 am 

    Sorry for the bad link above: corrected link

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