Top Perry aide: Inaction on coal, nuclear plan endangers power grid
A top official with the Department of Energy urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Tuesday to approve Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal to protect coal and nuclear plants, saying there was “broad consensus FERC must act.”
“Continued action only would make the problem worse,” said Energy Undersecretary Mark Menenzes. “We know there are constant threats to our system, so [Perry] will do what he can to make sure the grid is resilient.”
Menezes’ comments, made during a forum in Washington hosted by the Consumer Energy Alliance, come as FERC is fast approaching its Dec. 11 deadline to decide on Perry’s proposal to give coal and nuclear power plants an additional tariff to help stop them from shutting down and potentially destabilizing the grid.
But a broad coalition that includes environmentalists and the oil and gas industry have questioned the notion that the grid is in danger.
A Department of Energy study released earlier this year, under Perry’s directive, found the closure of coal and nuclear plants was the result of increased competition from natural gas and renewables but so far done nothing to threaten the stability of the grid, “due to better planning, market discipline, and better operating rules and standards.”