Supporters of DOE coal rule haven’t proven their case, energy groups say
A coalition of 20 energy groups and companies argued Tuesday that the supporters of Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal to prop up coal and nuclear plants haven’t proven the need for the regulation.
The coalition, which includes strange bedfellows representing natural gas, oil, wind energy and solar energy, asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to scrap the proposal, saying the comments filed by supporters don’t show a legal justification for it.
“The record in this proceeding, including the initial comments, does not support the discriminatory payments proposed” by Perry, the groups wrote.
“The commission is simply not authorized to provide an entire class of generation with a new payment stream, whether temporary or permanent, based on a desire to keep all options open for the future,” they said.
“While the undersigned support the goals of a reliable and resilient grid, adoption of ill-considered discriminatory payments contemplated in the [proposal is not supportable — or even appropriate — from a legal or policy perspective.”
Tuesday was the deadline for final reply comments in FERC’s consideration of Perry’s September proposal.
Perry has asked that FERC require that electric grid operators mandate higher payments to certain coal and nuclear plants that have 90 days worth of fuel on-site, which he said would improve the resilience of the grid.
Coal, nuclear and their allies strongly support the move. But the vast majority of the comments received by the initial deadline last month opposed it.
The Nuclear Energy Institute used its reply comments to reiterate its support for the proposal and its position that there is a real grid resilience problem that needs a quick solution.
“Generation resilience and resource diversity are critical to our ability to continue providing reliable electric supply, and those attributes are not currently valued by the markets,” the group wrote. “Few parties dispute either point. That alone provides a basis for the commission to act.”
FERC is planning by early next month to take some kind of action on Perry’s proposal. That could be a vote to implement it, but it could also be to shelve it, do more research or take any number of steps.
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