- March 20, 2019
- 583 views
According to a Bloomberg report last evening, the Trump administration's energy department plans to direct utilities to purchase power from struggling coal and nuclear plants for two years from a designated list of facilities “to forestall any future actions toward retirement, decommissioning or deactivation.”
"Too many of these fuel-secure plants have retired prematurely and many more have recently announced retirement," the memo states and adds that natural gas and renewable power sources are less secure and less resilient. The memo further states that this is a "prudent stop-gap measure" until further study of "grid security".
There are 99 nuclear plants operating today in the US and, according to an NPR story last year, more than half of them risk closure over the next decade due to environmental concerns and an inability to compete against cheap natural gas. Over 60,000 MW of coal capacity has been retired since 2012 and several utilities across states have already made ambitious commitments to secure more of their energy from renewable sources.
The falling price of natural gas and the development of storage technology means that the Trump administration's efforts to revive the coal industry will probably not succeed. They may slow down the move towards renewable energy sources. But that slowdown might be a welcome development to refine and propagate infrastructure and technology for integration of renewable energy into the grid.