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Trump prepares to order grid operators to prop up money losing coal, nuke plants

K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
37,333
11,801
136
Trump administration officials are making plans to order grid operators to buy electricity from struggling coal and nuclear plants in an effort to extend their life, a move that could represent an unprecedented intervention into U.S. energy markets.

The Energy Department would exercise emergency authority under a pair of federal laws to direct the operators to purchase electricity or electric generation capacity from at-risk facilities, according to a memo obtained by Bloomberg News. The agency also is making plans to establish a "Strategic Electric Generation Reserve" with the aim of promoting the national defense and maximizing domestic energy supplies.
The Energy Department would be relying partly on the Federal Power Act -- the so-called Section 202 authority -- that lets the administration order guaranteed profits for power plants that can store large amounts of fuel on site. And the Energy Department would be tapping the 68-year-old Defense Production Act, a Cold War-era statute once invoked by President Harry Truman to help the steel industry.
The issue is a priority for some of the president’s top supporters, including coal moguls Robert E. Murray and Joseph Craft of Alliance Resource Partners, who donated a million dollars to the president’s inauguration. The move would be one of the most direct efforts by Trump to make good on campaign promises to revive the nation’s shrinking coal industry.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-01/trump-said-to-grant-lifeline-to-money-losing-coal-power-plants-jhv94ghl

A bailout for a narrow set of interests who happened to contribute heavily to Trump's campaign what will be paid for in the billions by utility customers directly and indirectly. The national security argument is bullshit.

Republicans who don't care if he does this should probably remember that there won't be a Republican in the White House for the rest of eternity. If he's allowed to abuse his powers in such ways there will be nothing stopping the next person who they might not ideologically align with.
 
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brycejones

Lifer
Oct 18, 2005
21,061
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[QUOTE="K1052, post: 39444975, member: 117184"
Republicans who don't care if he does this should probably remember that there won't be a Republican in the White House for the rest of eternity. If he's allowed to abuse his powers in such ways there will be nothing stopping the next person who they might not ideologically align with.[/QUOTE]

This used to be the thought process that maintained norms in how the legislative and executive branches functioned. The GOP decided to throw it out in an 8 year long scorched earth campaign against the black Muslim Kenyan interloper and now we have an anything I can get away with mentality.

I don't see today's GOP thinking that far ahead.
 

dank69

Lifer
Oct 6, 2009
28,854
12,507
136
Republicans who don't care if he does this should probably remember that there won't be a Republican in the White House for the rest of eternity. If he's allowed to abuse his powers in such ways there will be nothing stopping the next person who they might not ideologically align with.
This used to be the thought process that maintained norms in how the legislative and executive branches functioned. The GOP decided to throw it out in an 8 year long scorched earth campaign against the black Muslim Kenyan interloper and now we have an anything I can get away with mentality.

I don't see today's GOP thinking that far ahead.
Well, it's not like the electorate punished them for such behavior, either.
 
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dyna

Senior member
Oct 20, 2006
813
61
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As I thought, here is the reasoning behind it.

Trump administration officials who advocate taking action say they want to preserve nuclear and coal-fired plants that have fuel on site and provide reliable, always-on power capable of snapping back after intense storms and emergencies.

"Too many of these fuel-secure plants have retired prematurely and many more have recently announced retirement," only to be replaced by less-secure, less-resilient natural gas and renewable power sources, the memo said.
This strategy is also used to prevent food shortages.
 

dyna

Senior member
Oct 20, 2006
813
61
91
There is no electricity shortage.
They do these to prevent shortages, just like why you might have a generator on standby in your house. Or backup electrical line for a solar grid in case there are too many shady days.
 

brycejones

Lifer
Oct 18, 2005
21,061
13,163
136
They do these to prevent shortages, just like why you might have a generator on standby in your house. Or backup electrical line for a solar grid in case there are too many shady days.
Like I said:

Hook, line, and sinker

We have natural gas for that, and gas plants spin up faster than coal.
 
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K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
37,333
11,801
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They do these to prevent shortages, just like why you might have a generator on standby in your house. Or backup electrical line for a solar grid in case there are too many shady days.
No it doesn't. There is no shortage of generation capacity in the market and none forecast by any grid operator, some have considerable excesses. There is a reason Trump is resorting to this option since when the DOE actually looked at the grid last year they found that reliability was increasing.
 

thraashman

Lifer
Apr 10, 2000
10,928
1,098
126
Republicans who don't care if he does this should probably remember that there won't be a Republican in the White House for the rest of eternity. If he's allowed to abuse his powers in such ways there will be nothing stopping the next person who they might not ideologically align with.
But Democrats have never been the ones to do this abuse. And republicans know 2 things. First, that Republican voters are so fuck-stupid that they'll believe whatever the GOP tells them. And second, that Democrats possess some integrity and won't retaliate and abuse the system the way republicans will.
 

crashtech

Diamond Member
Jan 4, 2013
9,833
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I wonder how many participants here would bother to learn a bit about the challenges facing the electric grid before passing judgement. Renewables are creating some serious challenges that our current state of the art is almost ready to handle. The Duck Curve requires massive amounts of investment in new technologies to mitigate. I'm no friend of coal in particular, but the reasoning behind this may not be as cut and dried as it will be made out to be.
 

K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
37,333
11,801
136
And second, that Democrats possess some integrity and won't retaliate and abuse the system the way republicans will.
There is no way to guarantee that a future Dem president won't meddle in the economy in exactly the ways that Trump is since he's breaking down norms.
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
73,155
24,749
136
I wonder how many participants here would bother to learn a bit about the challenges facing the electric grid before passing judgement. Renewables are creating some serious challenges that our current state of the art is almost ready to handle. The Duck Curve requires massive amounts of investment in new technologies to mitigate. I'm no friend of coal in particular, but the reasoning behind this may not be as cut and dried as it will be made out to be.
I'm unaware of any evidence that indicates retiring these plants as scheduled represents a meaningful threat to grid stability. In fact, all evidence I'm aware of says the opposite.
 

K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
37,333
11,801
136
I wonder how many participants here would bother to learn a bit about the challenges facing the electric grid before passing judgement. Renewables are creating some serious challenges that our current state of the art is almost ready to handle. The Duck Curve requires massive amounts of investment in new technologies to mitigate. I'm no friend of coal in particular, but the reasoning behind this may not be as cut and dried as it will be made out to be.
Coal and nukes are literally the worst things to try actively following load with.
 

crashtech

Diamond Member
Jan 4, 2013
9,833
1,637
126
Coal and nukes are literally the worst things to try actively following load with.
True. But keeping that base load generation capacity ensures that there's more time to implement load following strategies. I remember you being well versed in the issue, but people's interests and passions vary. I talk to a lot of people who are bullish on renewables to the point of monomania, they can't be reasoned with.
 

thraashman

Lifer
Apr 10, 2000
10,928
1,098
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There is no way to guarantee that a future Dem president won't meddle in the economy in exactly the ways that Trump is since he's breaking down norms.
While that's possible, history has indicated that Democrats won't and Republicans count on that to push extreme behavior and not expect equally extreme back.

Personally I would campaign for, donate to, and volunteer for a candidate who promised to direct the arrest of Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Trey Gowdy, Devin Nunes, Tom Cotton, and many others on day one for their seditious and treasonous behavior over the last few years.
 

glenn1

Lifer
Sep 6, 2000
25,383
1,013
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https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-01/trump-said-to-grant-lifeline-to-money-losing-coal-power-plants-jhv94ghl

A bailout for a narrow set of interests who happened to contribute heavily to Trump's campaign what will be paid for in the billions by utility customers directly and indirectly. The national security argument is bullshit.

Republicans who don't care if he does this should probably remember that there won't be a Republican in the White House for the rest of eternity. If he's allowed to abuse his powers in such ways there will be nothing stopping the next person who they might not ideologically align with.
So it's the 2008-2009 auto bailout but for coal plants? Seems like the precedent is already in place to misuse taxpayer dollars to prop up obsolete industries who can't survive on their own merits.
 

K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
37,333
11,801
136
True. But keeping that base load generation capacity ensures that there's more time to implement load following strategies. I remember you being well versed in the issue, but people's interests and passions vary. I talk to a lot of people who are bullish on renewables to the point of monomania, they can't be reasoned with.
There is more than enough flexible NG capacity out there to manage load even with high renewable penetration.
 
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