Department of Energy recommends bail out of failing coal plants

Department of Energy recommends bail out of failing coal plants”

Watchdog clears Perry's use of military, charter flights MORE to take "immediate steps" to prevent the further closures of coal energy plants around the USA, the White House said Friday.

Trump, who has frequently promised to bring back coal jobs, believes that keeping America's energy grid secure "protects our national security, public safety and economy from intentional attacks and natural disasters", White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. Nonetheless, supporting the flagging coal industry was one of Trump's campaign promises, although the president's current energy secretary, former Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry, has made few inroads in his attempts to convince Capitol Hill and the energy industry that coal-burning power sources should be kept alive.

Sanders added that "impending retirements of fuel-secure power facilities" pose a risk to national security, which prompted Friday's actions.

As part of the plan, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) could exercise emergency authority under national security laws to direct the operators to buy electricity from coal and nuclear facilities, according to a memo reviewed by Reuters.

The memo allegedly wrote that "Too many of these fuel-secure plants have retired prematurely and many more have recently announced retirement".

The Energy Department would also establish a "Strategic Electric Generation Reserve".

The Trump administration may soon take action to try to save the nation's struggling coal and nuclear plants.

The DoE memo suggests that USA energy grid operators could be compelled to purchase power from a pre-approved list over a two-year period, "to forestall any future actions toward retirement, decommissioning or deactivation", according to Ars Technica.

Trump's plan to rescue coal and nuclear plants "that are struggling to be profitable under the guise of national security would be unprecedented and misguided", said Todd Snitchler, marketing group development director at the American Petroleum Institute, which represents some of the nation's biggest gas drillers.

E&E News - an online energy-focused media outlet - in April reported that the DPA was being studied as a tool to provide Trump with sweeping powers to help any industry he deemed crucial to national defense.

The plan would exempt power plants from obeying a host of environmental laws and spend billions to keep coal-fired plants open. Federal regulators shot down the idea in January. A coalition of natural gas and renewable power advocates told Perry that "power plant retirements are a normal, healthy feature of electricity markets", and therefore there is no emergency that would justify Energy Department action.

The government last invoked the Defense Production Act to address the California energy crisis in early 2001, ordering natural gas sellers to prioritize contracts to sell supplies to utility Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

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