In a surprise move, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission dismissed Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal to pour more money into coal and nuclear plants.
On Monday, all five members of the FERC, of whom four were appointed by President Trump himself, argued that the proponents of the new request to hike energy payments had failed to demonstrate that current electricity sources are not reasonable.
FERC’s decision is a major win for the green energy industry including solar and wind which rivals the coal and nuclear industries. Conservative activists, several companies, and environmentalists hailed the decision.
However, FERC did offer Perry a small concession. The agency agreed to scrutinize grid operators over their practices and measures to keep power grids resilient, a goal that has been on the Energy Secretary’s mind for quite some time.
FERC Will Not Save Coal and Nuclear Plants
The commission argued that under the Federal Power Act, grid operators can be forced to change tariffs if the federal government proves that those tariffs are preferential, discriminatory, unreasonable or unjust. Perry and his team have failed to prove any of these.
The commission also found that grid operators do not plan any generator retirements that would made the grid less resilient.
The Energy Department proposed the changes in September, under which some grid operators would have been required to share profits with power producers if the power plant had more than 3 months of fuel on-site. Such requirement could be met only by the coal and nuclear plants.
Supporters of the proposal argued that the electric grid is at risk of becoming less resilient and blackout-prone because of the many closures of coal and nuclear plants in recent years. Critics of the proposal said the move would just raise electricity costs by nearly $12 billion just for the sake of the Trump administration’s political motives.
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