Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Did Trump Disorder Syndrome Cost Texas Lives? Back in 2017, Energy Secretary Rick Perry suggested paying coal and nuclear power plants to store coal fuels on site for at least 90 days worth of disaster resilience.
At the time, the resilience proposal was widely criticized as a barely disguised Trump program designed to pump government money into the coal and nuclear industries. But in hindsight, a little more resilience could have saved Texas from days of painful power outages.
As of 2017;
Rick Perry: DOE’s proposal for coal and nuclear will rebalance the market
Perry doubles his arguments that the NOPR will protect Americans.
LACEY JOHNSON NOVEMBER 2, 2017
Energy Secretary Rick Perry said a proposed rule to subsidize coal and nuclear power plants is “a realignment of the market” to correct the Obama administration’s support for renewable energy.
They “clearly had their fingers crossed on the renewable energy scale,” said Perry, who spoke with Meet the Press host Chuck Todd and Axios CEO Jim VandeHei on Thursday at an event in Washington, DC energy policy priorities.
The DOE’s request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) would turn decades of energy market policy on its head by guaranteeing cost recovery for power plants with a 90-day on-site fuel supply – something that is just nuclear, some hydropower, and some larger ones Coal power plants can provide.
“If you can guarantee me that the wind will blow tomorrow, if you can guarantee me that the sun will get to the solar panels … then I’ll get involved. But you can’t, ”said Perry.
The Public Regulations Notice (NOPR) implies that network reliability is threatened due to the decommissioning of coal and nuclear power plants. The conclusions are largely based on an incomplete analysis of the 2014 polar vortex that could have resulted in blackouts if several coal-fired power plants, which are now planned to close, were not available to supply the cargo.
The move has been widely criticized by clean energy advocates as politically motivated and factually unproven, and has sparked backlash from key sectors of the energy industry.
Read more: https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/rick-perry-doe-coal-nuclear-proposal-is-rebalancing-the-market#gs.Fp8TJMg
Federal regulators rejected the plan on the grounds that Rick Perry did not provide enough evidence that the shutdown of coal and nuclear power plants was affecting grid stability. The plan was eventually dropped after vigorous lobbying by gas and renewable energy groups.
Now that the scenario that Rick Perry predicted actually happened in Texas, it seems pretty obvious that Rick Perry was right about the risks. Nuclear power plants and fossil fuel plants that had access to adequate fuel supplies remained largely functional.
Why is government intervention necessary to ensure grid stability?
On-site storage of fuel worth several months is a cost that does not add to the company’s bottom line. The cost of all of this reserve fuel represents money that could instead have been used to pay down capital debt or to pay dividends to shareholders. Energy providers who opt for this type of cost are at a competitive disadvantage compared to energy providers who run leaner operations by reducing their reserves to the bare minimum. The cost of storing fuel affects market share and business growth. Consumers often flock to the lowest-priced energy service without considering the long-term consequences.
Rick Perry’s plan would have eliminated the financial penalty for maintaining an on-site fuel reserve by reimbursing utilities for the cost of maintaining significant fuel reserves.
Given the resilience, payments seem like a viable solution. will President Biden or Texas Governor Greg Abbott implement Trump / Perry’s 2017 Energy Resilience Plan?to make sure nothing like the Texas blackout disaster ever happens again?
Update (EW): Mark Baher reminds me that I criticized Rick Perry’s plan in 2017. As I focused on Perry’s statement that he would try to balance the market against renewable subsidies, I had a vision of Perry’s plan for a subsidy competition between proponents of renewable energy and proponents of fossil and nuclear fuels. What I didn’t realize was how limited the reserves would be in the event of a storm. Perry was right, I was wrong.