Source: Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis
Federal regulators on Tuesday disputed the Trump administration’s claim that struggles facing the coal and nuclear industries threaten the reliability of the nation’s power grid.
“There is no immediate calamity or threat,” the Republican chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission told Congress. Existing power sources are sufficient to satisfy the nation’s energy needs, FERC Chairman Kevin McIntyre added.
Four other commissioners from both parties agreed there is no immediate threat to the grid. The comments before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee contradict a recent White House directive ordering action to keep coal-fired and nuclear power plants open as a matter of national and economic security.
“I think reliability has been protected and I am confident it can continue to be if we are vigilant about any localized issues,” said commissioner Cheryl LaFleur, a Democrat and former FERC chair.
Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., asked LaFleur and other commissioners whether any of them believe the U.S. is facing “an actual national security emergency” as President Donald Trump claims. None answered yes.
Commissioner Robert Powelson, a Republican, warned that Trump’s June 1 directive imploring Energy Secretary Rick Perry to take immediate steps to bolster coal and nuclear plants threatens to “collapse the wholesale competitive markets that have long been a cornerstone of FERC policy.” A plan being considered would direct regional transmission operators to buy power from coal and nuclear plants for two years to ensure grid reliability and maximize domestic energy supplies.
More: Energy regulators: No grid emergency to justify coal bailout