Rick Perry's proposed coal, nuclear compensation rule denied by USA regulator

Frederick Owens
January 11, 2018

Mr. Robert E. Murray, the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Murray Energy stated that "This is a bureaucratic cop-out, whereby these FERC Commissioners have totally avoided making a decision regarding the very urgent situation relative to the lack of reliability, resiliency, and security in our electric power grids in our Country".

The Tuesday morning tweet came from Corey LewandowskiCorey R. LewandowskiABC producer reprimanded for sharing data with Trump campaign: report Trump went off on Manafort for suggesting he should not appear on Sunday shows: report Lewandowski: Manafort should go to jail for the rest of his life if he colluded MORE the day after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) unanimously killed Perry's plan to require higher electricity payments to coal and nuclear plants. Once it reviews the information, the commission will "promptly decide" whether additional action is warranted to address grid resilience, FERC said.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a United Nations special envoy on climate change, said the FERC decision was a "victory for consumers, the free market and clean air".

The commission issued an order initiating a new proceeding "to holistically examine the resilience of the bulk power system". The operators have 60 days to submit materials. The irony is that FERC is an independent agency comprised exclusively of political appointees - not longtime, career government workers - and four of FERC's five commissioners were appointed by Trump past year and confirmed by the Senate.

His work was reportedly on behalf of coal mining company Murray Energy Corp. and electric utility FirstEnergy Corp., two of the most vocal advocates for the Perry plan that FERC rejected.

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"The law and common sense prevailed over special interests today", John Moore, director of the national Sustainable FERC Project Coalition, said in a written statement. 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. "This is shifting to a real-world process based on what's actually happening to the nation's grid, and that's great news for renewable energy". As one example, he noted last week's forced shutdown of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in MA due to a power line that failed during extreme cold weather.

Murray dismissed the research, claiming that Rhodium Group is "certainly biased" and "shills for the renewable energy industry".

"Keeping up with these changes by ensuring that market tariffs and reliability standards sustain both reliability and just and reasonable rates in a time of changing resources has been a major focus of the Commission, and must continue to be", she added.

In mid-October, the DOE took the unprecedented step of asking FERC to provide guaranteed revenues and profits to uneconomic coal and nuclear plants. Throughout its territory, more than 40 new gas-fired generating plants are planned or operating, displacing coal-fueled plants and threatening nuclear plants.

Three of those appointees are Republicans, including the commission's new Chairman, Kevin McIntyre, who worked for nearly 30 years as an attorney for the energy industry. Trump can only remove members under extreme circumstances, like malfeasance or neglect of duty.

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