DOE grid report says shale gas to blame for coal plant closures
The Department of Energy says coal and nuclear are still needed to support the nation’s power grid, and the main reason for coal plant closures results from abundant, cheap shale gas production. The report had been ordered by Trump’s Secretary of Energy Rick Perry who backs coal and has said solar and wind threatened the reliability of electricity production.
The electric grid is in good shape for now despite tremendous changes in electricity generation, according to the report. Environmentalists had worried that renewables would be slammed in the report, they weren’t. The Department of Energy made it clear that the main reason for coal plant closures is cheap shale gas supplies, much more so than regulations or solar and wind subsidies.
But it provides suggestions for shoring up coal and nuclear, including curbing environmental regulations for coal such as New Source Review permits, which are aimed at limiting air pollution. And it encouraged speeding up permits for new nuclear plants.
The DOE’s conclusions are in line with a similar report issued by PJM earlier this year. PJM operates the region’s wholesale electricity market and the nation’s largest grid.
Andy Ott is president and executive director of PJM. Ott says he saw nothing surprising in the report.