FERC rejects Perry plan to boost coal, nuclear

Rick Perry

Today, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected former Dancing with the Stars contestant and current Energy Secretary Rick Perry's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would have given a massive bailout to the coal and nuclear industries in the name of so-called grid resilience.

Murray Energy Corporation ("Murray Energy") is extremely disappointed that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") has failed to enact the immediate reforms necessary to ensure the reliability, resiliency, and fuel security of our Nation's electric power grids and, instead, dodged the decision.

"The goals of this proceeding are to develop a common understanding among the Commission, industry and others of what resilience of the bulk power system means and requires; to understand how each regional transmission organization and independent system operator assesses resilience in its geographic footprint; and to use this information to evaluate whether additional Commission action regarding resilience is appropriate".

"Corey Lewandowski understands FERC and the rule of law like Rick Perry understands energy markets and fair competition: not at all", Mary Anne Hitt, director of Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign, told ThinkProgress via email in response to Lewandowski's claim.

It's no surprise it was resoundingly rejected by even the industry-friendly commission, just as it's no surprise that Secretary Perry continues to demonstrate he has no idea what he's doing overseeing our nation's energy infrastructure. "What is not debatable is that a diverse fuel supply, especially with onsite fuel capability, plays an essential role in providing Americans with reliable, resilient and affordable electricity, particularly in times of weather-related stress like we are seeing now", AP quotes him as saying. Instead of plunging the eastern seaboard into cold darkness, the storm caused relatively few outages, including one that shut down a nuclear power plant in MA. He argued that coal and nuclear plant closures, which have increased in recent years as they have been made uneconomic by cheap competitors, is putting the grid at risk. "It was about protecting the bank accounts of plant owners at the expense of everyday Americans".

Environmental groups said the administration's plan would boost dirty and risky fuels, while non-coal and nuclear energy providers warned about interference in the free market and manufacturers that use huge amounts of electricity complained about higher energy prices.

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As an independent body, FERC isn't required to follow policies suggested by Trump, Perry or the administration.

Trump committed to the measure in private conversations last summer with top coal executives.

FERC wrote in its decision that the DOE had not shown that delaying the retirement of uncompetitive power plants would meaningfully improve the resilience of the the grid.

"I fear that we will now immediately observe the announcement of further decommissioning of nuclear and coal-fired electricity generation that will further exacerbate this critical situation", Mr. Murray added.

"They voted 5-0 to address resiliency". He said the FERC order to seek more information about resilience was "only the first step" rather than a final one.

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