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Author Topic: Corruption in Government  (Read 9701 times)

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    • Agelbert Truth AND Consequences
Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #450 on: October 02, 2017, 11:06:24 pm »

Perry to FERC: Prop Up Failing Coal and Nuclear With Piles of Cash

When the Department of Energy’s grid study came out in late August, we said it was obvious that it would be used to justify undeserved handouts to coal and nuclear (even though its contents didn’t actually support that idea). On Friday, fleet-footed DoE Secretary Rick Perry danced around reality to confirm those suspicions by proposing a new rule for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

This new rule Perry wants FERC to consider would make power plants that keep a 90-day fuel supply on hand eligible to receive “full recovery of costs” if they can “withstand major fuel supply disruptions caused by natural and man-made disasters.” In plain language, it would force the public to pay billions to coal and nuclear plants that can’t compete with gas and renewables.

The supposed justification for this handout is national security. Perry’s reasoning--directly contradicted by his own agency’s grid study--is that in times of emergency the country needs coal to keep the lights on. In the real world (which apparently the Trump administration can only reach via pricey private jets) natural and man-made disasters often incapacitate the very power plants Perry wants to prop up with ratepayer money.

During the 2014 polar vortex, for example, natural gas lines were constrained and coal piles froze, but wind and solar worked fine. During Harvey, coal piles were flooded, yet after Irma, it was solar panels that were used to keep traffic lights operational. And of course in Fukushima, a nuclear plant was rendered inoperative by the tsunami and caused a crisis on top of that natural disaster. Yet these are the sources Perry wants taxpayers to subsidize in the name of reliability. 

This certainly makes it seem like Perry’s request is less about reliability and more about political patronage and shielding dirty old inefficient and costly energy sources from the competition of the free market. Perry’s not coy about this either. “For too long, coal in this country is reviled,” he told the crowd at a speech at a coal mine last Thursday. “It’s time coal in this country is revived.”

To be fair, at least Perry didn’t show up with bags full of cash to give a failing coal plant. Instead, the DoE offered $3.7 billion in loan guarantees to Georgia utilities who are failing to get a pair of nuclear plants up and running. (That’s apparently 7 Solyndras, if you were wondering.) This is on top of another $8 billion utilities have already received, and still might not be enough to complete the project. At what point does it make more sense to just burn the money itself instead of trying to sustain these coal or nuclear plants?

While the loan for the nuclear plant is likely money wasted, it remains to be seen whether FERC will find Perry’s request justifiable. As an independent agency, Perry can’t force FERC to have taxpayers pour money into failing power plants. If there isn’t a legal and financially viable way to meet this request, FERC can decline. And if they don’t, green groups will sue, and a judge will have to decide whether rugcutter Rick’s arguments cut mustard.

To ballet your fears, here’s our guess. After looking at the facts, FERC’s career staffers will politely tell Perry that they did the hustle to try and make this work, but couldn’t swing it. The idea is just corporate welfare mambo-jumbo, they might say, so Perry can take the idea and flamengo back to dancing on TV. 

Agelbert NOTE: Let us hope and pray that sanity prevails. But with the Trump Wrecking Crew, we can not count on sanity.

Leges         Sine    Moribus     Vanae   
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.


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