Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s so-called grid reliability study will be nothing more than thinly-veiled propaganda for the coal industry and a tool to justify expensive government handouts to outdated power plants.
How do we know? The tactic is ripped straight from FirstEnergy’s well-worn subsidy playbook.
The Ohio-based utility has relentlessly sought a massive, customer-funded bailout to prop up its unprofitable power plants. It repeatedly tried using reliability as an excuse for subsidies, while the regional grid operator repeatedly declared there would be plenty of generation to keep the lights on without FirstEnergy’s old power plants.
The reliability justification hasn’t worked for FirstEnergy, and it won’t work for the pro-coal Trump administration. The reality is, a 21st-century energy system won’t be based on old, lumbering coal plants. Instead, modern energy technology means we can build a cleaner, more flexible, and reliable electric grid.
Retirements won’t hurt reliability
Since 2014, FirstEnergy has been trying to bail out its subsidiary power plants that are struggling to compete in the electricity market. Under the guise of grid reliability, the utility asked the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to authorize billions of dollars in customer-funded subsidies for its aging, inefficient coal and nuclear plants.
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