Trumpy flunky says replacing coal-based energy with renewables and natgas threatens grid stability


❝ Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry ordered a review of electricity markets and reliability late last week, saying that “certain policies” have hindered the development and use of baseload energy sources like coal. Although Perry never mentions renewable energy explicitly in his letter, he references “significant changes within the electrical system.” That seems to be a direct allusion to the record amount of renewable capacity that has been added to the grid in recent years.

❝ The Obama administration had supported initiatives to increase renewable energy on the US grid given the urgency of climate change and with a mind to mitigate the health problems that come with pollution related to coal burning and mining. Although wind and solar power are intermittent resources…government agencies including the DOE have funded research to improve renewable energy efficiency and energy storage. The idea has been that adding renewable energy to the grid makes it more resilient, because power generation doesn’t rely on shipments of natural gas, coal, or oil. It also decreases the grid’s reliance on large fossil fuel-burning facilities and allows more distributed energy generation.

The Trump administration, on the other hand…lies about climate change science, with the president even falsely claiming that climate change is a hoax made up by China. In March, the president killed the Clean Power Plan and ordered agencies to ignore climate change. Perry, too, spent most of his early career rejecting climate change science, but during his January Senate confirmation hearing the former Texas governor said he now accepts science showing that the Earth is warming…

❝ Of course, Perry’s history isn’t purely boosting fossil fuels. He also led a massive expansion of renewable wind power during his time as governor of Texas. But the Trump administration that Perry works for has promised to bring back coal jobs, something that industry analysts and even coal industry executives have been skeptical of due to the fact that coal’s struggles stem from competition with the low price of natural gas…

❝ Perry said that the results of the review would help to establish policies from the Trump administration, with a focus on “reliability, resiliency, affordability, and fuel assurance.”

Believe that one and you deserve the long-term increase in your energy bill…and the shortened lifespan you’re gifting your children and grandkids.

10 thoughts on “Trumpy flunky says replacing coal-based energy with renewables and natgas threatens grid stability

  1. Invisible Hand says:

    “2 Tennessee Cases Bring Coal’s Hidden Hazard to Light”
    “The Coal Facts: Kiev’s Plan to Import US Anthracite Lacks Economic Justification”
    “Of Course Exxon Is Asking the U.S. to Waive Its Sanctions on Russia : With its old C.E.O. running the State Department, this should be a piece of cake.”

  2. Done says:

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Public Service Company of New Mexico has proposed to stop using coal-fired electricity within the next 14 years. The company plans to replace coal entirely with solar, wind, natural gas and nuclear power, the Albuquerque Journal reported ( ) Friday.
    “Market forces are driving a rapid evolution of energy resources, and the current data clearly supports the replacement of the coal in our portfolio with an energy mix that includes more renewables and natural gas as the best, most economical path to a strong energy future for New Mexico,” Public Service Company President Pat Vincent-Collawn said.
    The company has found through its 20-year resource plan that consumers will save money in the long run if it shuts down its coal generating station in San Juan by 2022 and relinquishes the utility’s 13 percent share in the nearby Four Corners Generating Station by 2031.

    • Update says:

      “The Navajo Nation Council voted to keep the Navajo Generating Station open until 2019 then work with its owner to shut it down. This legislation buys the tribe a little more time to find a new source of revenue and jobs.
      With this legislation Salt River Project, the plant owners, also agreed to turn over some water rights to the Navajo Nation and to pay the tribe $167 million to lease the land, for the time needed, to operate and shut down the plant in the next three to five years.
      In addition Salt River Project will maintain the electrical transmission lines for 10 years. Navajo President Russell Begaye envisions solar and wind farms replacing coal energy.
      “We’re excited about the fact we have 500 megawatts of electricity that we can utilize in our transition into renewable energy,” Begaye said.
      With the plant closure the tribe loses $30 million a year in power plant revenue and 700 jobs.
      Salt River Project chose to shut down earlier than anticipated because natural gas is so much cheaper than coal.”

  3. Harbinger says:

    West Virginia’s biggest utility just told the governor that burning more coal is “not going to happen” Appalachian Power’s residential and industrial customers (pdf), which include Steel Dynamics, Koch Industries, and Marathon petroleum, are now asking about switching to 100% renewables, says John Shepelwich of Appalachian Power. In order to get out in front of this growing demand, the utility, which serves more than a million customers across the US mid-Atlantic region, has begun preparing power plans that would allow customers to stop using fossil fuels.

  4. Heads up says:

    “Energy Secretary Rick Perry is cooking up a case to stifle further federal support of renewable wind and solar energy. He’s ordered a dubiously sourced staff study that is aimed to paint renewables as an unreliable source for the nation’s electric grid.
    The study, due June 23, seeks to determine whether federal tax and subsidy policies favoring renewable energy have burdened “baseload” coal-fired generation, putting power grid reliability at risk. It is being spearheaded by Energy Department political appointee Travis Fisher, who’s associated with a Washington policy group that opposes almost any government aid for renewable energy.
    Fisher wrote a 2015 report for the Institute for Energy Research that called clean energy policies “the single greatest emerging threat” to the nation’s electric power grid, and a greater threat to electric reliability than cyber attacks, terrorism or extreme weather.
    The Institute for Energy Research and its advocacy arm, the American Energy Alliance, has been the “influential force in shaping Donald Trump’s plans to dismantle Obama administration climate initiatives,’’ according to Bloomberg News.
    Headed by Thomas Pyle, a former director of federal affairs for Koch Industries, IER has already delivered its fossil fuel industry wish list to the Trump administration. It’s part of the “America First Energy Plan” that was posted on the White House website on Jan. 20.”

    • Update says:

      On Friday evening, Bloomberg reported that it has seen an early draft of a study from the Department of Energy (DOE) concluding that renewable energy like wind and solar are not a threat to the reliability of the grid at present. The study was commissioned at the request of Energy Secretary Rick Perry. “…the text of the study, which was originally due out in late June, could change. Energy Department spokesperson Shaylyn Hynes told Bloomberg “Those statements as written are not in the current draft,” noting that it was “constantly evolving.”
      The people that Perry tapped to work on the study could give a hint at the direction the final draft will take. One of the study’s authors is Travis Fisher, a former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) economist who has written extensively in opposition to tax credits for wind energy and in favor of repealing the Clean Power Plan as well as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. In contrast, the principle author is reportedly Alison Silverstein, who worked at FERC under George W. Bush and later went on to consult for the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. She has also worked on previous studies for the DOE on renewable energy integration.”

  5. Frank says:

    “Distributed energy sources can reduce cost of electricity up to 50%, study says : Traditional grids will have to change. Modeling can help find the best way forward.” “Dramatic changes are coming to the old power grid. As infrastructure ages and policy dictates a move away from fossil fuels, utilities and governments are looking at Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) as potential alternatives to continually building out a centralized grid.”

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