Rick Perry Defends Proposed Coal and Nuclear Subsidies

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has defended proposed subsidies for coal and nuclear power, claiming they are required to “rebalance” the market after the abuses under the Obama Presidency. In my opinion subsidising fossil fuels and nuclear is just as wrong as subsidising renewables.

Rick Perry: DOE’s Coal, Nuclear Proposal Is ‘Rebalancing the Market’

Perry doubles down on arguments that the NOPR will protect Americans.

LACEY JOHNSON NOVEMBER 02, 2017

Energy Secretary Rick Perry said a proposed rule to subsidize coal and nuclear plants is “rebalancing the market” to correct for the Obama administration’s support of renewable energy.

They “clearly had their thumb on the scale toward the renewable side,” said Perry, who spoke about his energy policy priorities with Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd and Axios CEO Jim VandeHei at an event in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.

The DOE’s request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) would upend decades of energy market policy by guaranteeing cost recovery for power plants with 90 days of fuel supply on-site — something that only nuclear power, a few hydropower sites, and some larger coal power plants can provide.

“If you can guarantee me that the wind is going to blow tomorrow, if you can guarantee me that the sun’s going to get to the solar panels…then I’ll buy into that. But you can’t,” said Perry.

The notice of public rulemaking, or NOPR, implies that there is a looming threat to grid reliability due to coal and nuclear power plant retirements. Its conclusions are largely based on an incomplete analysis of the 2014 polar vortex, which could have led to blackouts had several coal-fired plants now slated for closure not been available to serve the load.

The move has been widely criticized by clean energy advocates as politically motivated and factually unproven, and has drawn a backlash from major 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

In my opinion, subsidising coal and nuclear is just as wrong as subsidising renewables, a sure path to more expensive electricity.

The moment the government starts wheeling out subsidies, businesses stop focussing on improving their product or service, because its far cheaper and more cost effective to lobby a few politicians.

What happened to the coal and nuclear industry under President Obama was awful and unjust. But two wrongs don’t make a right.

Given Democrat hostility to fossil fuel, and the identified systemic risks to the system, I would support providing government guarantees of financial compensation to coal and nuclear plant operators, a specified payout if the next government imposes punitive new taxes or even outlaws coal or nuclear power, to counter the sovereign risk to investors of a future green administration expropriating or destroying the value of their assets.

But this should be the limit of government intervention in the market. Anything else risks triggering a major haemorrhage of public money, as fossil fuel operators and nuclear operators are tempted to join renewable operators in gaming the system, demanding ever greater government subsidies or government guaranteed prices in return for agreeing to supply their product.

Government should get out of the energy industry.

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172 thoughts on “Rick Perry Defends Proposed Coal and Nuclear Subsidies

  1. We need to get some sensible legislation in place so the next (democrat) administration can’t dismantle what the Trump cabinet is doing. I, too, disagree with subsidies…. but we do need a “resilient” grid.

    • Agreed. Public energy needs to be free of taxpayers’ cash and must continue to operate as what it is: a free-market source of energy. I don’t like subsidies being provided to anyone or any business. It heads us in the wrong direction.

      • Nuclear Plants are subsidized already.

        Production tax credit (then 1.8 ¢/kWh, now 2.3 ¢/kWh) from the first 6,000 MWe of new nuclear capacity in their first eight years of operation (the same rate as available to wind power on an unlimited basis).

        Federal risk insurance of $2 billion to cover regulatory delays in full-power operation of the first six advanced new plants.

        Rationalised tax on decommissioning funds (some reduced).

        Federal loan guarantees for advanced nuclear reactors or other emission-free technologies up to 80% of the project cost.

        Extension for 20 years of the Price Anderson Act for nuclear liability protection.

        Support for advanced nuclear technology.

      • Yes, paying coal and nuclear more from government is not the way to go. Stop penalizing such steady state producers and make the playing field even, no subsidies for anyone, no guaranteed price, no guaranteed sales.
        However if we do not do this level free market solution, then we have to compensate those companies we have punished via favorable biased legislation to their green competitors.

      • Public energy needs to be free of taxpayers’ cash and must continue to operate as what it is: a free-market source of energy. I don’t like subsidies being provided to anyone or any business. It heads us in the wrong direction.

        Power generation is heavily regulated and an essential service. Power producers must grantee power all times of the year which builds in redundancy (extra cost). Imagine if in full free market it was more cost effective to not overbuild but accept that for one month of the year (summer or winter) there would not be enough power to go around. Mayhem. That is what a pure free market would do. Subsidies and regulation, done correctly are a necessary part of a stable grid.

      • If there is a demand, someone will supply it. That’s how the free market works.
        It’s just that those who make the demand would have to pay the cost of providing the extra service.

      • Karl

        This is funny:

        “Federal risk insurance of $2 billion to cover regulatory delays in full-power operation of the first six advanced new plants.”

        Massive regulatory compliance costs are mitigated by the Feds providing a bit of insurance to cover it, and the coverage, necessary because of the inordinate compliance costs, is a ‘subsidy’.

        A production subsidy per kWh is a subsidy, a real one. The wind subsidy encourages people to build windmills using nuclear and coal power. That results in an industry that consumes energy while pretending to generate it. Nice work if you can get it.

        The EROEI for wind power is about 2. Each has to be replaced eventually so the cost of power for ‘something else’ is twice the apparent cost due to the investment needed in the replacement turbine. Even subsidised It is a bad deal for everyone.

    • Great idea. Thinking that you can make rules that can’t be undone in the future by the same body.

      This is a democracy folks, and things change. Do people really think that we can keep ourselves from changing our minds?

      • maybe folks in 1776 should have considered energy resources when they drafted the constitution… Oh, wait a minute…

      • A rule promulgated by the president can be undone by the next president. A rule passed by congress has to be undone by congress plus there is the possibility of a presidential veto.

        Some rules are a lot stickier than others. President Trump has been very busy rescinding the rules enacted by previous presidents. link On the other hand, for things requiring the cooperation of congress … not so much.

      • Most of our Representatives in Congress are part of the Swamp–even many Republicans there considered “Russian Collusion” as possible and even supported the Democrats in their silly quest to decertify the election (we now know it was HRC, BHO, and the DNC who paid for the “dossier”, and it was promoted by many with ties to Fusion GPS, all of which carries possible criminal charges.)

        President Trump has been busy rolling back the counterproductive, often unconstitutional actions of previous presidents, which is reflected in a booming economy here and world-wide.

        Once the ridiculous howling from the Democrats over his presidency subsides, real progress can be made in putting the US on a successful trajectory again, be it regarding energy, security, growth, education, and so forth.

        The Democrats is being revealed for being the anti-American party of slow growth and counterproductive ideology.

      • RockyRoad November 5, 2017 at 10:04 am

        … The Democrats is being revealed for being the anti-American party of slow growth and counterproductive ideology.

        For about five minutes after President Trump’s election the Democrats looked like they might be getting the message. link That’s over and done with for sure. I haven’t heard a Democrat with half a clue for a while now. :-(

    • Tax renewables and end their subsidies and they will go away eliminating the need for coal and nuclear “rebalancing”.

      • As I’ve said many times.

        “Peak Renewables” occurs at the time point that subsidies are removed.

        Then its crash and burn, in the case of wind turbines….. literally

      • saveenergy

        I wonder if you have ever looked at the number of turbine fires reported yearly against the number of installed turbines?

        A vanishingly small percentage…

      • Griff,
        Have you looked at the number of birds killed annually vs the number of wind turbines?
        Hint: the ratio is very close to 1/1
        And Bats deaths are more than 2/1

        What happened when the turbine crashes and burns in the c r open field it is supposed to be compatible with?
        Hint: Summer wheat tends to burn when you add fire. And so do forests

      • “Griff,
        Have you looked at the number of birds killed annually vs the number of wind turbines?
        Hint: the ratio is very close to 1/1
        And Bats deaths are more than 2/1”

        So less than 1M globally. Versus one billion killed by cats each year in the US alone. I can’t believe we are having this conversation.

      • Since there are 600,000,000 to 800,000,000 cats worldwide, the statistic appears similar with an annual kill ratio of slightly more than 1/1. Short of causing a Genus extinction by exterminating domestic and feral house cats, something we can’t really control, we can control the numbers of wind turbines that add to the bird kill figures.

      • I have Bryan

        I find most of the reports take the figures from one of the few sites which genuinely do impact birds, particularly the 1980s designed and badly sited Altamont Pass, then in effect try to say that every turbine is like Altamont.

        In other words the figures are deeply misleading and certianly don’t apply in the UK with its strict planning requirements.

      • Chris,
        Are you really proposing that society exterminate House Cats for the betterment of avian species?

        If not, then breaching the subject as a debate point is truly thoughtless.

        Not certain where you get your “Million Turbine” figure. At the end of 2012, 1 report placed the estimate at 225,000. http://www.care2.com/causes/7-most-impressive-wind-farms-and-turbines-in-the-world.html Since 2012 capacity has less than tripled from 1.5% to 4% so the more realistic figure might be 600,000. And that is only for current usage figures, it doesn’t account for population growth or electrification of unenergized areas or the holy grail of CO2 reduction, the electrification of transportation. Nor does it allow for the charging/recharging of battery back-up systems that would be needed everywhere. You will need more than a hundred fold increase in turbines each farm altering wind flow patterns and ultimately changing the climate.

  2. I agree that subsidies are totally the wrong way to go in principle but then again proposing them in the current context simply brings the issue to the forefront and strips it of its ideological cover. Proposing them for coal/gas/nuclear sounds like a good stalking horse to me. Just about any tactic to take the ‘debate’ up to the marketing driven fraudster proponents of the Great Green Blob is legit as far as I can see.

    Just thinkin’…

    • Ensuring Reliability/Resiliance, NOT “subsidies”
      The NOPR provides financial incentives to ensure grid reliability and resilience, NOT a “subsidy”.
      South Australia shut down its coal fired power plant leaving it with 53% solar/wind. It had no reliable dispatchable supply to counter wind/solar variations and dropouts. Too much wind tripped out the wind supply. The transmission lines to neighboring States unable to make up the loss and South Australia descended into a state wide blackout. That is driving businesses to leave.
      To restore business confidence.
      ““The new AEMO requirement, quietly introduced in December, but not enforced until this week,
      requires three gas units to run when wind production is up to 1200MW, and four gas units when
      it is more than 1200MW. If four gas units cannot be engaged, then excess wind power above
      1200MW is curtailed, as occurred on Monday.”
      New back-up rule means end of cheap wind power in South Australia, Giles Parkinson 4 July
      2017
      http://reneweconomy.com.au/new-back-up-rule-means-end-of-cheap-wind-power-in-south-austra
      lia

      • “The NOPR provides financial incentives to ensure grid reliability and resilience, NOT a “subsidy”.”

        I think that is what I have trying to say :-)

        Its a bit like buying insurance.

      • Even if it was actually a subsidy, it would be subsidizing grid resilience, rather than subsidizing grid degradation.

  3. “In my opinion, subsidizing coal and nuclear is just as wrong as subsidizing renewables, a sure path to more expensive electricity.”

    At least these forms of electric power produce electricity reliably 24/7 as opposed to solar and wind…

    • sad that an obvious truth gets characterized as ‘opinion’, no? with wimpiness like that, you will always lose.

    • In my opinion this proposal is just strange — or maybe it’s just insane. Or maybe I am not understanding. The money to provide existing subsidies to so-called “renewable energy sources” is money that is derived from productive economic enterprises that were powered almost entirely by fossil fuels, nuclear and hydro power.
      Do you reckon this subsidy will be paid using some of the magic fiat currency that The Federal Reserve Bank conjures out of their magic hole in the air? No money? No sweat. Nothing has to be real in the strange little foreign country that’s called The District of Columbia. Alice-in-Wonderland make-believe fantasies are what rule in Fantasyville on the Potomac. And if things don’t work as fantasized? Again, no sweat. The burdens of failures fall on the backs of future generations. Let the good times roll.

    • I assume you would say the same for D&Qing the last administration for their complicity with the re renewable energy industry.

    • Perry should be heartily congratulated for realising that the ANTI-CO2, ANTI-LIFE agenda is a scientifically empty crock of ****.

      The world needs MORE atmospheric CO2, , and society needs solid, reliable energy to sustain itself.

      Wind and solar are basically a waste of money when it come to reliability of supply.

      • Nice example of special pleading, karl. Denmark (and Germany) rely on the rest of the grid they are on for anything resembling stability–hydro from Norway, nuclear from France. . .

      • Denmark’s wind turbines depend heavily for their effective utilization on 29 GWe of hydro capacity in Norway, over 1.7 GWe of which can be dispatched promptly when wind power is unavailable in West Denmark. The Skagerrak HVDC link is owned and operated by Statnett in Norway, and Energinet.dk in Denmark. Hence, there is a natural and felicitous interdependence between West Denmark’s wind and Norway’s hydro. With good winds, power can be exported back to Norway and there conserve hydro potentiale. This explains why the net import-export balance of electricity with Norway is very variablef.Although about one third of electricity is produced by wind, the country’s use of this electricity is much lower. A 2009 report by Danish policy think tank CEPOS estimates that Denmark consumes around half of its wind-generated electricity on averageg,1. Wind power is heavily subsidized by Denmark but, because this power is exported at the spot price, the subsidies are effectively exported. Moreover, the countries that the wind-generated power is exported to – mainly Norway and Sweden – are largely carbon neutral with regards to power generation, so Denmark’s exported wind power does not save carbon dioxide emissions, instead displacing carbon neutral generation. On the other hand, wind power consumed within Denmark lowers fossil generation in the country.

      • Karl,
        It must be very comforting to know that you will have all the power you need for ONE DAY OF THE YEAR.

      • Lets have a look at the percentage of nameplate delivered by all German wind in 2015, 2016.

        Do you REALLY consider something that delivers at less than 16% capacity form over half the time, ..

        … and only gets above25% capacity 30% of the time…

        actually worthwhile ? Really ??

      • @ Tom

        Not special pleading at all.

        Denmark has proven that they can generate 100% of needed electricity from WIND alone.

        In 2015 they generated 140% on one day and were able to sell the exscess to Germany Sweden Norway and Finland.

        That is proof of principle that the ENTIRE consumption load CAN be provided by a SINGLE renewable source.

        Additional nameplate capacity (roughly 3 times what is currently installed will allow Denmark to have 100% of consumption provided by WIND, with a 26% buffer.

        Adding Industrial Battery and Compressed Air Energy Storage makes load leveling easier.

        The other European Nations are analogous to other US States or ITO’s

        So it’s not special pleading at all — simply FACTS.

      • lowercase karl, you do remember South Australia? Doing something briefly is like “yogic flying”.

      • Griff – did you change your name to Karl? One day out of 365.25 days is not enough to watch a TV series! How are you going to keep up with your favorite sit com?

      • “will allow Denmark to have 100% of consumption provided by WIND”

        on the odd windy day……

        And NONE when the wind stops blowing.

        Won’t that be fun for them :-)

      • Denmark could do what the governments, and many people, in South Australia, Victoria, UK are doing.

        Install diesel generators.

      • @ all the naysayers

        The FACT they have done it more than once

        twice in 2015 and once in 2017

        Is proof that it can be done.

        The only obstacles to doing it everyday are

        1. Increasing installed wind nameplate capacity until it is 3-4 times the current capacity (now that there are floating megawatt class turbines — not that hard)

        2. Utility scale Battery or Compressed Air Energy storage

        Oh, the yearly electricity supplied by wind for Denmark is approximately 40%,

        And with load following interconnects they average about 33% consistent baseload from wind.

        Like I said — the principle that it CAN be done has been proven — Scale and load leveling storage are the only issues left

      • Seems karl doesn’t have the ability to comprehend this graph

        Hangs about on sites that dream about mythical possibilities.

        Where does the rest of Denmark’s , that’s 60%, often needs to be 80-90% from RELIABLE SOURCES !

        Batteries etc are too small to ever be anything but a very short term emergency gap-filler.

        But do keep up your FANTASY and DREAMING

        Its funny, and yes, very much a spoof on the whole renewable charade. !

      • Andy, If I’m reading that graph correctly. Wind power provides 5% of the power 90% of the time. So to supply wind power 100% of the you need to increase the number of wind mills 20 fold.

        That’ll get to you 100% of wind power 90% of the time.
        “Sure thing, lets do it” Griff.

      • Karl,
        It needs to be done consistently EVERY DAY to prove viability. While a single day proves concept, it doesn’t prove viability.
        Kind of like jumping off the ground to prove you can fly. “Well I flew for 0.38 seconds.” Or jumping off a building to prove it won’t kill you and stating at every floor as you pass…”So far so good”

      • karl, you do realise that the population of Denmark is less than either New York or London, they only have 5.7 million people living there and as others have noted thay can only do it for a day and with the assistance of all the other EU countries around them.

      • Andy, do you reckon that wind and solar will be providing the money that Perry proposes to use to subsidize fossil fuels? It’s fossil fuels that are currently subsidizing wind and solar — and bio-fuels.

      • Karl November 4, 2017 at 6:11 pm

        ”Tell that to Denmark — This February 24th their entire Electricity consumption was supplied entirely by WIND

        “The country of Denmark generated enough wind energy on Wednesday to power the entire country’s electricity needs, according to new figures from Europe’s wind energy trade body, WindEurope.” …

        Karl, this is probably one of the most damning things about R.E.s Think about it. Here’s a hint. What about Feb. 23rd, or 25th …? What about next Thursday 9th Nov. 2017, less than one week away? What happened between last Feb. 24th and now? Will they celebrate Feb. 24th every year from now on?

        If you substituted ”Fossil fuel” into that statement above, instead of ”Wind” how unimpressed would you be? Whopeeedoo! comes to mind.

      • karl – November 4, 2017 at 6:11 pm

        [AndyG55]

        ……., and society needs solid, reliable energy to sustain itself.

        Tell that to Denmark — This February 24th their entire Electricity consumption was supplied entirely by WIND

        Such silliness, Karl, ….. one (1) successful “wind energy production day” …….. out of three hundred and sixty five (365) days ……. is hardly worth mentioning, ……. let alone your touting it as some sort of a “SPECTACTULAR ACHIEVEMENT”.

    • I suppose then that requiring Earthquake-resilient structure building codes in earthquake zones, is not in the Government’s business?

      Sure… government could get out of the way of mandating and enforcing Earthquake-resistance in building codes, and the entire US West Coast cities would be flattened by a minor earthquakes. Just like Pakistan, Nepal, Turkey, etc have been.

      • that’s right joel.
        it’s DEFINITELY AND DEFIANTLY NOT THE BUSINESS OF GOVERNMENT BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT A BUSINESS.
        it’s between the owner of the property and his insurance company.
        and if you don’t like it, go tell mommy because your angst is not the government’s business either.

      • gnomee-boy,

        That litigation route you seek is after people have died and the ambulance-chasing lawyers get rich. Just another Liberal scam.
        Engineers or Scientists? I’ll take Engineers, thank you.

        Government has a role to set and enforce building codes from Earthquakes in earthquake prone areas. Sound engineering. Government has a role in ensuring energy supplies are resilient in the face of natural and man-made disasters.

        The CO2 hustle is just that a hustle. The CO2 hustle happened because government pseudo-scientists and not private-industry engineers, saw dollar signs in climate alarmism.

      • and where will you nanny stop? when your health is protected by restricting the size of your soda?
        it’s not a slippery slope, man, it’s a cliff.
        you will hit the bottom finally. and i guess that’s your business, but squawk about how you think somebody should dictate the terms of somebody else’s life is the liberal way, joel- and you are doing it – and topping it off with half a dozen straw men as if that changes anything.
        you urge to protect is really an urge to rule and i bloody well know it- so don’t try to be funneh with me.

    • Ah, the twitter troll comes to the den of iniquity. Have you any thing useful to say after retweeting Mann and Greenpeace

    • In your opinion, just being familiar with how energy is actually produced is a capital offense.
      Interesting. Do you always assume that anyone who disagrees with you deserves death?

  4. It has to be either option – subsidize none or face the fact that renewable subsidies will force unintended subsidies to certain fossil plants to maintain reliability. Given the choice I would agree that government should get out of the business of energy subsidies because I believe the unencumbered market will tend to the least cost system that maintains reliability of electricity supply that we have come to expect. If subsidizing implementation of non-dispatchable renewables continues then I think you need to subsidize base load plants that provide on-site storage because I think Perry’s argument is correct. Moreover I think that peak load turbines will also end up being subsidized because many of those units have to be replaced because they are old technology and old enough that they should be retired. I am not confident that renewables and the other technology that is supposed to solve peak electricity load such as peak shaving, micro grids, and distributed energy resources will be sufficient to eliminate the need for peaking fossil units. All those magical solutions make the business case to invest in new peaking turbines very poor.

    • “because I believe the unencumbered market will tend to the least cost system that maintains reliability of electricity supply that we have come to expect. ”

      Really! That’s what you believe? Wow you have a lot of faith in the market.

      Just ignore the gouging that occurred at the hands of west coast public power producers during the 2000/2001 California energy crisis. And public power is suppose to be the good guys. ENRON was pennyanny!

      • Not that it will faze you, but our constant governmental meddling in energy has hopelessly distorted energy markets.

        We need a free market in energy in the worst possible way. Getting there from where we are is going to be tricky.

        Ethanol is the dumbest rhing. But forty some percent of the corn crop is fermented into motor fuel every year. You can’t end the travesty instantly. You have to measure the incremental decline in decades. Unless you want to drastically subsidize the lost farm income when corn prices go to zero.

      • The Comifornia energy crisis during the term of Grey-out Davis was a direct result of an idiot price control scheme sold to the voters under the fraudulent name of “deregulation”. There was nothing “free market” about the failures there. Unable to make a reasonable profit, utilities cut maintenance to the bone, leading to a barely capable and fragile grid. Then those same price controls, operating on only one side on the interstate electric market, facilitated a scheme to profit selling electricity into then back out of the State when the crisis hit.

      • hahahaha- that’s right kitty- the government just didn’t do it right- you know – like all other forms of socialism.

      • Some people will never be happy until the government forces companies to provide whatever they want, for free.

  5. Do not subsidize anything. Charge the going/market price for everything. Nuc’s are costly – uranium processing and waste disposal – charge the right price for ALL the inputs. Same for coal – dig it, process it, burn it, – charge the right price for mining rehabilitation and effluent scrubbing. If solar and wind and all their non-subsidized inputs can create electricity cheaper – then there is humanity’s solution…I say coal still is the best watt for the dollar – if only someone had made an electric generator fueled by coal for my home

    • Rick you are aware that everything is included in the price of power US nuclear power?

      Commercial nukes pay the federal goverment for certain services from DOE.

    • Coal mines already restore the land from mines, on their own dimes.
      Coal plants already scrub their “effluent” on their own dime.

      • “Coal mines already restore the land from mines, on their own dimes.”

        Yeah, right, through self bonding. Which they can get out of by declaring bankruptcy and leaving taxpayers to pay for the cleanup.

  6. Federal-level subsidies of coal & nuclear power are justified in part by the need to defend them against state- and municipal-level subsidies and mandates for Intermittents (i.e., to maintain a level playing field), and are partly justified by their likely sunsetting in ten years, when the price of natural gas rises.

  7. “by guaranteeing cost recovery for power plants with 90 days of fuel supply on-site “

    This is HIGHLY DESIRABLE, and deserves paying the extra insurance.

    It costs money to maintain that sort of stockpile. !

    Wind and solar can not even guarantee to supply a fraction of a day, or even a fraction of an hour in advance.

    Why waste funds even considering them.

    • There is no guarantee said tax farming stockpiles would be usable when they are needed.

      Modern generators are very fussy about the quality of their fuel. Oil deteriorates rapidly when it is stockpiled, becomes contaminated with fungus. Coal stockpiles can become contaminated with moisture, which causes it to misbehave when it is fed into feeders. Gas – you don’t know whether it is any good until you try to burn it.

      e.g. Coal problems
      https://www.acarp.com.au/abstracts.aspx?repId=C4057

      The only way to ensure energy companies take proper care of their fuel stockpiles is for the decision to be market driven – for energy companies to maintain their own stockpiles, independent of government, in the hope of cashing in when energy is in short supply.

      • That market-based argument would abolish government dictated building codes too.
        Wake up Eric. Government does have a role.

      • It is a little like saying, “… only if you trust farmers to take care of their land.”

        Private ownership is the best guarantee that an asset’s value will be conserved. It is not a perfect guarantee, but it is a pretty good one. Logging on the public land requires prescribed stewardship. Nobody does more that required to conserve the value of another person’s asset at their own expense.

        As long as the government doesn’t own the coal, the power generator will take all the necessary steps to keep it in good usable condition. What he won’t do is voluntarily fund waste stream mitigation. It is good business to push waste into the air and water and be done with it – – – if it is allowed. It reduces operating costs.

        You have to regulate some things. Regulation done right can actually reduce costs because it reduces uncertainty.

      • In the 35 years that I have been working in a coal fired power plant, there has only been one instance in which water was a problem. We had a lot of rain ahead of a cold front and we had wet coal in the feeder silos. The temp dropped to around zero and the coal froze in the silos. We used hammers and portable heaters to get it out. We had to de-rate but we never went down. Water is not that much of a problem.

      • Eric Worrall
        November 5, 2017 at 12:08 am

        Hello Eric.
        Thanks for your informing blog post.

        But if you allow me to express my point of view in this particular event, I must say that maybe you just missing the main point of all this.

        Yes, this seems like a call for an extra expenditure, but I think if you look closely, you will find that it is the most effective way at this time to deal with the renewable madness, by blocking it.

        In essential it seems to be fair and balanced.

        It means that who ever will want to jump for the next stage must know that it better works, otherwise it has to consider that the only way out of this will be the offering of this rope to hung them self….a public offering of that rope, payed by the federal government, in a move to keep things balanced and fair.

        The amount of expenditure on this depends on the persisting of the renewable madness….
        And the rope does cost actually, even more so, in accordance with that madness, but is the only insurance and warning that can be considered at this point.

        Consider this, in USA, renewable power has no any chance forward, unless it heavily gambles with energy storage investment, and this move of Perry in behalf of Federal Government, shields and protects the main base load production from such dirty silly move.

        The scales have being already tipped by mister Bama, that is a reality.

        And as far as I can understand, this move seems to be the best possible and most effective at this moment in time by the federal government, very well thought and clever.

        Is an insurance against the madness. Yes seems costly, but that will depend in the persistence of the madness at this point.

        You see, Griffs and karls can keep all day in making the case of how good and efficient the renewable can be, even offering examples that somehow are considered as a proof of this in principle, but the move of the USA federal Government at this point simply states and warns, that this when jumped for better be as good as claimed, otherwise even the hell will be a very desirable place for the ones that will carelessly gamble with this, against all warnings and pleas.

        This kind of thing is much more complicated and dire, than most do consider it to be.
        This is not actually a simple thing of subsidies and favoritism, is more in the lines of a very careful balance and fairness………and I think Rick Perry is being very fair and balanced, but than again, only time can and will tell.

        Eric, from what I see this is an effective block move, a means to pay for the rope, if the rope needed at some point…….and maybe I am wrong, but this is how I can see it from this angle, how it could be wrong!

        The main clause consists with energy storage mad planing.
        This move will shield the base load players from falling for it, and in same time warning the rest of the mad cabal to really be careful before any jump considered at this point….anywhere in the USA territory.

        Is a very consistent move with a clear warning and it holds effective means to deal with any malpractice and intentional damaging activity, up to a higher State’s level..regardless.

        Thanks Eric.

        cheers

      • South Africa has shown yet another risk of Government stockpiles. Some un-named person or persons in the ANC Government managed to sell off all of the country’s strategic oil stockpile a few years ago. At the bottom of the market. And at a discount on top of that. When a newly created Energy minister started looking at this a couple of months ago, she was swiftly shuffled off her Cabinet job. Where the money went? Who knows?

    • Absolutely wrong: in the UK the National Grid has 95% predictability on available wind up to 24 hours in advance.

      It schedules other power plants accordingly.

      • But don’t you want to get rid of all those “Other” (CO2 producing) power plants?
        I mean Denmark can produce 140% of their needed power from wind on Feb 24th and 100% on Oct (20th?)
        Why would those Other power plants even be needed?

  8. BS, Eric!

    Nuke and coal plants are not subsidized. They pay lots of taxes.

    Second, the power industry is heavily regulated. Profits are limited by state Public Utility Commissions. The PUC protects the public from gouging on an essential service.

    The problem is that there no one in the US to protect us from the oil and gas industry and politicians.

    For the last few years natural gas has been dumped on the market at below production costs. What will happen to the price of electricity and natural gas when marginal nukes and coal plant close?

    Even marginal nukes and coal plant provide low cost power. We need to find a way to pay for the value of these plants beside the traditional sale of power. We need to do it on a national basis.

    • Yes-tax breaks, which fossil fuels mostly receive, are not susbsidies, per definition. Media erroneously lumps subsidies (the government giving money), and tax breaks (keeping more of your own money). Two totally different things. Not too hard to figure out why they do this.

      • most fossil fuel supposed subsidies in most countries are just green blob fiction. they are mainly related to tax breaks on cars/trucks etc, not power. even those tax breaks are taxes that should not exist in the first place. eg in Australia the fuel excise tax (currently about 40c/l) was introduced to cover the cost of road building/maintenance. good system -user pays. however work sites like tractors on farms, mine transport truck, private transport routes where the user does not use public roads should not have to pay fuel excise, and here they do not.

        wheel in the greens leader saying oh, there is a huge fossil fuel subsidy in this country and there should be no exemption by those nasty miners, and the media lap it up and repeat it without concern for fact or truth. this form of tax break is NOT a subsidy in any form or shape. the green blob lie and manipulate EVERYTHING.

        I didnt go into this story much, but when i see something like this, i just dont believe the report. the green blob and the msm only have themselves to blame for the lack of trust.

    • gouging is a scare word of the man who wants to seize control of that which is not his.
      and you are a proponent of that and monger the fear like a big green dog-
      barking barking… it’s what you activist nitwits do all day, isn’t it?

  9. The problem will be reliability. If we keep closing unprofitable generating stations that can dispatch power on demand we will be unable to meet demand with non-dispatchable renewables. All the newly built renewables and combined cycle gas peaking units have depressed the market price (the renewables are insulated from the price decline by tax subsidies and mandates)

    S Australia had a massive grid collapse 28 September 2016. They have more windmills than anywhere on the planet. They all shut down at once 28 September. It was a mess. The authorities are scrambling to mandate the non-closure of coal stations and requiring maximum sourcing of renewables & minimum generation requirements from dispatchables.

    “I have seen the future and it sucks”

    • For now South Australian voters are still buying into the lies of politicians who convinced them renewables are reliable. The only cure for stupidity or wilful ignorance is experience. A few more grid collapses should settle the issue.

      • the QLD election will be interesting. i mean we still have labor running a green campaign even though they seem to be avoiding the promised 50% renewable target they want, so they are starting to back away a bit, but they are still finding ways to get the latest coal mine to not go ahead without looking like they are doing it. is the balance of power still that side of thinking? i mean the vote is now 18% for a minor right leaning (closer to the wing than most want it) party and will probably rise as the two majors continue leaning left.

  10. Reprice “renewables” on the basis of their being intermittent. Stop any new must purchase agreements on wind and solar, and phase out outright subsidies and “carbon taxes” however disguised. Until such proposals could be put into place, it might be necessary to do what Worall calls subsidies on nuclear and coal. He should consider that the other side have very few principles, so standing on principle can get self-destructive.

    • Tom, the issue I see with wind and solar is that it is a resource not evenly distributed in the US.

      To the extent that wind reduces the demand for natural gas one place, provides for more supply for home heating somewhere else.

      The people who object to subsidies have the foresight of a two year old. They forget where were were 10 years ago. They have not clue about 60 years from now. Of course no one does. That is why power companies have resource plans.

      I not saying the folks who think wind and solar can replace nukes have a clue either.

      Fair and balanced is not stupid versus stupid.

      It is about keeping the lights on.

      • The various rules giving preference to renewables have more of a malign effect than outright subsidies. Rules requiring utilities to purchase the power from wind and solar, despite their lack of dispatchablity, pushes the cost of having backup onto conventional sources. The cost of this lack of backup and reliability should be reflected in the pricing of wind and solar, i.e. deeply discounted.

      • “Rules requiring utilities to purchase the power from wind and solar, despite their lack of dispatchablity, pushes the cost of having backup onto conventional sources . . .”

        . . . which also is slowly driving many businesses out of business in countries like Australia. Mandated use of subsidized wind and solar, as you state, has pushed the cost of energy beyond many Australian consumers in certain parts of the nation. Besides having the highest energy costs today, the country has replaced England as the posture child for the number of citizens seasonally sitting in the dark (or heat) enjoying the benefits of this orchestrated alternate energy madness; all courtesy of ‘subsidized’ leaders and their ‘close associates’ (the alternate energy providers); both of whom enthusiastically support their never-ending, no-lose, government-mandated windfalls.

      • I find it fascinating how confident you are that even though business people can’t see 10 years into the future, politicians will be able to see 60 years into the future.

        BTW, wind doesn’t reduce the need for natural gas. Even gas fired plants can’t respond quickly enough.

  11. “In my opinion…”

    You know what they say about opinions and a-holes!

    This goes double for Aussies when it comes to how we make power in the US. It seems that Eric has them about everyplace.

    I do have a lot of respect for the Aussies when it comes to mining coal and uranium.

    • California’s “deregulated” wholesale power disaster in 2000/2001 occurred because you can’t uncouple the vertically integrated distribution/transmission/generation (at least in the manner that California did) without endangering the integrity of the whole apparatus. The three parts have to work cooperatively. The new California regulations insured that power producers would feed on the ‘profitable’ vulnerabilities at the expense of the distributors and ultimately the rate payers. It was doomed to failure. It was bad regulation – not a free market in energy – the made California an outstanding example of how not to deregulate the electric power industry.

      Adelaide’s 28 Sept. grid collapse (blackout) had everything to do with how much renewable electricity they pushed onto the grid. It demonstrated how vulnerable any grid is to intermittent & variable power generation. You don’t think there is a lesson to be learned?

      • Willy what is sad is that the lessons were available to be learned for those who want to learn.

        In Texas the process worked. Texas got the power plants it needed for reliability. Texas also had a modest renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS). As a result Texas became the modern leader in windpower.

        The governor at the time was G.W. Bush. Later POTUS Bush did not push for a national RPS saying it was a state issue. A production tax credit allowed states with good wind resources to build wind farms.

        It is also interesting that Rick Perry is a former Texas governor. The policies he is proposing will not help the Texas natural gas industry. If you are holding a national office, your priority should be what is good for the country and not just your home state.

        The lessons learned process has been part of the US nuclear for as long as I can remember. These same practices have been applied to coal, gas, and wind.

        The measure of a good lessons learned program is not repeating problems.

        As far as problems down under or anywhere else, Eric is not a source information. He is all about agenda and not learning lessons.

  12. The easiest way to level things out is to have tenders for say 80% of the required electricity 2 days in advance.

    Failure to meet the tendered amount, large penalties, either financial, or forbidden to tender for a short time .

    Then just remove all subsidies.

    Having companies that can guarantee electricity 90 days out.. that is a massive insurance policy for RELIABILITY of supply. and should be rewarded as such.

  13. The Obama Regime Sandinista and Vietcong Federal employees must be driven from the Federal Government. In the “Good Old Days” there would be a Purge with the deaths of 10s of thousands. I prefer the Good Old Days. Cost effective and efficient. Today we use the Government Regulations against them along with the standard “Performance Review”, Work-space Clock-In Clock-Out forms, Leave Abuse and Drug Testing. It takes time. So Trump’s first administration is more about Purging the Federal Ranks than a sea-course change. Getting Obama Sandinista and Vietcong employees to commit suicide will save the Federal Government from having to pay Insurance Benefits, Survivors Benefits, Pension and Health Benefits to Spouses and Partners.

    They wanted to destroy the U.S.A.! Now they will be the destroyed!

    • They have been very effective at enriching the politically well connected. Which after all, is all they were designed to do.

  14. I could not agree with you more Eric,”Government should get out of the energy industry.”
    When corporations get a hold of taxpayer subsidies, it is like sucking on a tit in DC, lobbyists with BS excuses, campaign contributions quid pro quo, Solyndra and Tesla are a good examples.
    There should be no government planning. In the end, we just have rent seeking, crony capitalism, and a misallocation of resources reducing the standard of living and economic growth while some become billionaires and others are reelected. DOE should be abolished after transferring parts to DOD, or it is just looking after the energy industry asking for subsidies? Same for DOA, do we really need food subsidies? National debt we leave to future generations to pay off is already abysmal, socialist planning and subsidies in guise of wise policy for security or watermelon environmentalism is a train wreck. If coal, oil, solar or EV, maybe we should get some whale oil harpoon subsidies going too.

  15. Rather than invent new subsidies for nuclear and coal stop the idiotic “must take” mandates for renewables which have so grossly distorted energy markets. Stop direct energy payment subsidies and tax credits for renewables which further distort energy markets. Charge renewables for required system regulating margin, spinning reserve, and frequency control related to their proportion of system load operation. Make renewables meet economic performance tests just like any other competitive generation resource versus the monumentally “entitled” resource that governments and politics have unfairly dictated.

    • “Rather than invent new subsidies for nuclear and coal stop the idiotic “must take” mandates for renewables which have so grossly distorted energy markets”

      But those mandates exist at the state and local level. The national government’s policies can’t change them—they’re in blue states. The only way for the national government to counteract their malign effects is to subside (for a decade, say), old-reliable power sources.

      • Roger, they are questionable under the interstate commerce clause. Pretty much only Texas is on its own grid, so the blue states are trying to discriminate against or tax imports from another state.

      • Tom: Some of what you say is true, but not all. Some of the state-level favoritism toward Intermittents applies just to in-state power plants. (Right?)

        As for the dubious constitutionality of penalizing out-of-state power based on its non-green-ness, I suspect that it’s probably actually constitutional, or would be ruled so. I suspect that if it were constitutionally weak there would have been lawsuits by now filed by coal and nuclear suppliers.

      • Largely it is a matter of the Feds overlooking unconstitutional behavior they approve of. California has a formal variance from federal auto pollution standards, which should be revoked.

      • Let the blue states discover the idiocy of their policies on their own.
        It’s not the government’s job to protect people from their own stupidity.

      • The Supreme Court has ruled that you engage in interstate commerce when you grow your own corn in order to feed your own cattle. The SC gave up trying to make sense several generations ago.
        (They ruled that had the farmer not grown his own corn, he would have bought corn. Some of that corn that he might have bought, might have traveled over a state line. Therefore the farmer impacted interstate trade by not trading. Therefore the government had a right to regulate what the farmer was doing.)

  16. It is government’s job to ensure a reliable source of electricity is available to the business, industry, and private consumers. This 90-day onsite supply at generating stations makes total sense. A national crisis occurs, an EMP attack on the US whereby major disruptions occur in NG pipelines, then a generating plant’s onsite supply of its stock fuel source is necessary to continue operation.

    Can wind do it? No.
    Can solar do it? No.
    Can natural gas do it? No.

    As the article says: coal, nuclear, and some hydro should be incentivized to stay in the business of making electricity. Makes sense.

    • The problem is the proposed subsidy won’t achieve this objective.

      There is no guarantee said subsidy farming stockpiles of reserve fuel would be usable when they are needed.

      Modern generators are very fussy about the quality of their fuel. Oil deteriorates rapidly when it is stockpiled, becomes contaminated with fungus. Coal stockpiles can become contaminated with moisture, which causes it to misbehave when it is fed into feeders. Gas – you don’t know whether it is any good until you try to burn it.

      e.g. Coal problems
      https://www.acarp.com.au/abstracts.aspx?repId=C4057

      The only way to ensure energy companies take proper care of their fuel stockpiles is for the decision to be market driven – for energy companies to maintain their own stockpiles, independent of government, in the hope of cashing in when energy is in short supply.

      Though perhaps I’m wrong – perhaps government inspectors will make sure everything is done properly.

      • Coal generation plants store their immediate fuel stock in giant silo structures with conveyors and augers to move the coal around to wash it, dry it , and then feed it to the furnaces.
        Nuclear plants are secure in their fuel for typically several years or more.
        Hydro can be too.

        Nothing else comes close to that kind of energy security for a baseload requirement. Government has a clear role in ensuring resilience to foreseeable disasters. No different than enforcing structural building codes in Earthquake ares or wind-damage codes in hurricane-prone areas.

      • This is a fundamental difference between engineering for expected, forseeable events like Earthquakes and Hurricanes, and the pseudo-science of climate change alarmist, whereby 1 deg C temp difference is supposed to be apocalyptic.

        In other words, the alarmist climate scientists are full of crap and should re-learn science principles and stay out of engineering.

    • It’s the job of those who provide electricity to provide a reliable source of electricity.
      The government just gets in the way.

  17. Energy supply resilience standards are government concerns. No any different than building codes for structural resilience is in Earthquake-prone and Hurricane-prone zones. Requiring Flood insurance also in flood plains zones, etc.

    Solar and Wind are intermittent power sources. Nothing can change that fundamental.
    Natural gas generation plants, while cheap and easy to build, can have supplies disrupted via long distance pipeline problems, and distant storage issues.

      • Could be. But if nat. gas prices rise sufficiently, drillers and their pipelines will be sufficiently rewarded for their efforts. Coal has long legs.

        I have always said, if the Greenies stop the building of nuclear power plants, then I can guarantee that in ~200 years or so, every last ex-tractable ton of coal will be dug-up and burned to keep homes warm and lights on.

  18. Eric

    That report: “https://www.acarp.com.au/abstracts.aspx?repId=C4057 ” appears from the abstract to be entirely devoted to the problems in stockpiling coal, particularly the possibilities of slumping. Nothing, so far as I can see, relates to any problems in feeding the coal into the furnaces, where the coal is I believe, normally pulverized into either small lumps or near dust so as to ensure that there is 99.9999% combustion. Makes no sense to blow unburnt coal up the chimney, if anything, it upsets the neighbours!

    Oil in storage does not deteriorate, else ships would have problems with the oil fuel stored in their double bottom tanks, which can well be stored for a year or so if desired to be maintained as (a) a strategic reserve against shortages at normal refuelling ports, and (b) assisting in maintaining proper stability and trim. Note that water ballast can be useful for (b) but is absolutely useless for (a)!

    Only problems I have heard relating to storage of oil in double bottom tanks are (c) the possibility of the heavier components fractionating out, and depositing as sludge, or (d) getting the ‘wrong’ viscosity of oil fuel into a tank with no heating coils, that becomes unpumpable in very cold weather. Problem (c) can be overcome by regularly – perhaps every 6 months or year – using the oil in every tank on a rotation basis, and (d) by not putting high viscosity oil into tanks without heating coils. If you do, you are stuck until the ship can get to a warm climate! Roll on Global Warming!

    • Oil stored long term has to be treated with lethal biocide on a regular basis to ensure it doesn’t end up full of bacteria.

      Look up “diesel bug” on Google – biological gunk in fuel tanks is the bane of boat owners. I used to own a boat, I had this problem many times.

      My point is, if companies are building stockpiles to claim the tax credit, there will be very little incentive to ensure the stockpile is viable – there is a perverse financial incentive to buy the cheapest rubbish which will scrape through a government inspection.

      • Seems they used to put preservative in gasoline. Now they don’t. It’s why one has to run snowblowers and lawnmowers til they are dry before storage – or add a preservative. I don’t drive much, so I actually have to add it to the tank on the car as well.

      • I should say I learned my lesson the hard way. Left the snowblower sit just about 2 months between use one time and had to pay to have the gunk cleaned out – it wouldn’t start. Who knew gas went bad so fast?

  19. Yep. Subsidizing coal and nuclear is as dumb as subsidizing solar and windpower….. Just get government completely out of the energy marketplace. Government has no right being there.

    To be quite honest, I think even an energy cartel run by the Mafia would still deliver cheaper and more reliable electricity than any government regulated system…..

    • “an energy cartel run by the Mafia”… Nah. South Africa’s ESKOM is run by the Zuma/Gupta ‘Mafia’ and is both highly inefficient and a sinkhole for taxpayer’s subsidies. Just use South Africa (as well as South AUSTRALIA) as ‘horrible examples’.

  20. The notice of public rulemaking, or NOPR, implies that there is a looming threat to grid reliability due to coal and nuclear power plant retirements.

    This ist the most important argument in favour of subsidies. Better safe than sorry. There ought to be a plan that brings subsidies for all participants in the energy race to zero within 4-7 years, guaranteeing grid reliability. The US power grid with its lines above ground is prone to failures of all kind, so this opportunity must be used to better the situation by digging in the power lines where it makes good sense.

  21. Going about it completely wrong. You don’t equalise the equation by adding subsidies to the opposing alternative. You pay out the contracts, and kill off the subsidies of the renewables.

  22. The Democrats were very straight forward, they boasted they were going to destroy the coal industry and were well on their way to doing so . Not a good move for Hillary no matter how much cash Steyer was throwing at the party she bought .
    As the economy grows under the Trump administration more reliable power is going to be needed and the giant steps backwards have to be reversed promptly hence the short term need to get supply back on track .
    Natural gas $ is historically very low due to fraking and coal has lost much of it’s competitive advantage at least for a while with or without being a Democrat target .
    Agree with many above, subsidies to any business is usually going to end badly at least for tax payers .
    I would venture to say the issue for coal and nuclear is as much about government policy flip flobs . The
    Ontario liberal government for example wasted over $1 billion cancelling valid power contracts and then deleted the audit trail of their crime against the plant builders and the tax payers of Ontario .
    The USA should know by now subsidies in all forms are epidemic as a result of the successful lobbyist culture in Washington .
    It needs to end .

  23. Eric, if you ‘pay’ fossil fuelled generators above market rates when they use their 90 day stockpile, as a means of ensuring good stockpile management, will you not get the enron effect of power companies, in turn, feigning an outage, so that the stockpile is used and the enhanced rate?

    If you pay more for an occurrence, then that is what happens….

  24. However, I suspect this proposal (Perry) is to illuminate the minds of the public to how much money is given to unproductive generating systems.

    When the greens say no to this proposal, Perry can say “Okay, stop all subsidies”.

  25. The situation is a bit more delicate than it seems. The set up left by Obama needs to be cleaned out. This isn’t an overnight process. Industry responded to the policies of the government. The corn for ethanol is the most stark example. You can’t just chop off this program. The ethanol industry is huge. It has to go, of course but a government that wants to get elected again has to retire some of this idiocy over time.

    The same for renewables. They are there now winding away. Start by making the addition of new renewables and the replacement of spent units having to go it on a competitive basis and wind down the existing support. Leave it to states to subsidize it if they want. Their citizens won’t be happy for long.

    In the meantime, during the transitioning to a competitive market, we can’t let the inefficiencies of the existing nightmare to be paid for by the fossil fuel sector. In an earlier saner world, it would be argued that a law suit by the fossil fuel sector against the government for legislating against them and supporting the competition against them was legitimate redress. Perry’s ‘balancing’ policy could be seen in this light.

    • Agreed Gary that in a perfect world we’d all agree no generator should be subsidised but that ignores the long term contractual obligations these Green airheads have locked in with the unreliables and their rent-seeking owners. They can’t be easily unwound without paying contractual breach compensation so taxpayers are stuck with the lesser of two evils in trying to redress the balance.

      • Yes, the contractual obligations entered into does make it difficult to undo some of the renewable madness. However, I can recollect some talk of the Spanish authorities getting round this by introducing a new tax for all solar users connected to the grid. This was proposed to counteract over-generous expensive feed-in tariffs.

        I don’t know if it ever came to fruition, but this would seem to be a reasonable starting point to compensate for over generous “subsidy” contracts. The tax could be raised incrementally offsetting the costs borne by taxpayers over time.

        This would be separate from and not breach the original contracts.

        SteveT

  26. Yikes. Can of worms. Unpopular as this idea is, it may be necessary. In any case, it does send a shot accross the bow to the bogus Obama-led “Green” energy industry, which unfortunately has infected the entire energy system. I have seen our energy system described basically as a three-legged stool, composed of nuclear, coal, and gas. The anti-nuclear and anti-coal ideologues have unfortunately had a hugely negative effect on those industries. Coal of course has also been hit with fracked gas, tapping into huge reserves of that. But too much reliance on NG is not good. Overall, I think Perry’s idea is worth consideration.

    • Nuclear has been hurt by cheap gas also. The company I work for has shutdowns scheduled for several of its plants.

  27. Three things come to my mind:

    1. The coal and nuclear subsidies will likely come from renewable subsidies so that there is no net change in subsidies. This will hurt states like California most (not exactly big Trump supporters).

    2. The states getting the subsidies will not complain.

    3. The states that have been receiving renewable subsidies will complain the most because they will have the most to lose.

  28. “In my opinion subsidising fossil fuels and nuclear is just as wrong as subsidising renewables”
    That would be my opinion as well, if only the boneheaded attacks of the recent decade hadn’t occurred.

  29. I am for the most part against subsidies, except for I would support a tax subsidy that helps an existing plant meet new guidelines on pollution. In fact, I think it is in the interests of the public to support such incentives. For example, fitting an older coal plant with the latest pollution capture technology helps to stabilize the supply of electricity while meeting newer regulations on nox sox pms, etc. Without such subsidies, you leave the door open to allow Envirowackos to regulate certain energy sources out of existence.

    • continuing with my example ….. if the Greens are going to cap CO2, thus by default eliminate certain coal fired plants, then the tax payers are obligated to provide the fix for a regulation that was not in place at the time of construction for the plant …. or you grandfather the plant.

  30. One big problem nuclear has is that it’s excluded from Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS).

    Consider: 29 states have renewable portfolio standards mandating minimum levels of electricity generation from wind, solar and other non-emitting sources. These states are home to 65 of the nation’s 99 commercial nuclear reactors, which are excluded from the RPS requirements.

    http://www.realclearenergy.org/articles/2017/06/20/can_renewables_and_nuclear_co-exist_in_our_clean_energy_future_110237.html

  31. The US subsidizes coal burning when it buys goods manufactured in China with the help of coal generated electricity instead of buying goods made in US with electricity generated from fracked gas.

  32. Regarding RE to supply then look at Scandinavia: http://www.svk.se/drift-av-stamnatet/kontrollrummet/
    The only country that runs 97% on RE is Norway, because of all its hydro. Denmark rely heavily on the cables to Norway, Sweden and Germany, and we anyway have to keep fossil powerstations working or ready. Some of them works to make district heating and produces some electricity as a byproduct.
    100% renewable is a green dream in the sky, no one can afford it.I do not accept biomass burning as RE in big scale.

    • “Some of them works to make district heating and produces some electricity as a byproduct” – labeled ‘Decentralised Power Plants’ in my comment (below?). I fully agree with Ferdinandsen’s viewpoints!

  33. Danish power generation and import/export can be monitored in real time here:
    https://energinet.dk/energisystem_fullscreen

    Translation help with the ‘info box’:

    Centrale Kraftværker = Centralised Power Plants

    Decentrale Kraftværker = Decentralised Power Plants

    Vindmøller= Wind Turbines

    Solceller = Solar Cells (PVC)

    Nettoudveksling = Net Exchange (import/export)

    Elforbrug = (total) Electricity Consumption

    CO2-udledning = CO2 Emission

    • BTW: If you look at the chart you will notice, that the Danish grid very frequently ‘transits’ electricity from Norway and Sweden to (Northern) Germany – as happens to be the case rigt now.

  34. In my opinion, subsidising coal and nuclear is just as wrong as subsidising renewables, a sure path to more expensive electricity.

    I go with this generally except for one little quibble:

    IF something goes wrong… would we rather have a certain the grid collapse within hours … or have a 90 day warning? This is about keeping the lights on and (thanks to Trump) we now have a new yardstick with which to measure hypocrisy. 90 days.

    You will hear some impassioned opposition to this… but you must listen for them to give a compelling reason the United States should not strive to have 90 days of electricity production on-hand. They won’t. Because they cannot. So they’ll try to deceive us into thinking it is not important.

    [from a letter I wrote to Secretary of Energy Rick Perry 29-Jun-2017]

    […] the United States is forging ahead with the build-out of long haul high pressure natural gas energy infrastructure with the same clueless insouciance as did the Germans building hydrogen airships. And we are doing it in a manner that is far more egregious (to common sense) than those Germans could ever claim. The very same decision-makers who would urge caution regarding oil and gas pipelines through the Middle East are turning a blind eye to the same vulnerability in our own back yard. Proposals to fuel LNG tankers for export, as well as the pipelines to crisscross our continent are fronted with the blessing of investors and insurers whose fair-weather assumptions degrade, even mock common sense.

    Natural gas will always carry this risk. Gas to stove, furnace and factory (especially petrochemical, plastic and fertilizer) has always been a great idea, but in every area presently supplied gas, grid electricity is already there and is our last defense from darkness and cold. My fear is that a day is approaching where the loss of natural gas plants at the end of long haul pipelines may trigger a cascading grid failure, from a coordinated attack on the gas distribution network. These pipelines are inherently indefensible.

    National Security would be best served by nuclear energy, plants that need not be above ground and require only occasional refueling from easily-defended deliveries. And what better fuel to build on for hundreds of years than Thorium, an incidental by-product of rare earth mining that is beyond ‘cheap’ in sufficient measure to power the grid?

    It is my hope that we are brought to consensus on nuclear and especially molten salts, with the resolve of an idea whose time is come 50 years too late. In my lifetime if I may be selfish. And not in the aftermath of some silly disaster that may prompt people to say, “Well who’da thunk it” as we beg other countries such as China, for assistance./blockquote>

  35. There’s no need to subsidize coal and nuclear as backup power. First, stop all subsidies, tax credits, and other deals for non-dispatchable energy. Instead require non-disp power plants to purchase backup power in order to use the electric grid for distribution and pay for any other costs to local electric grids and dispatchable power plants to support non-dispatchable power plants.

    It may be theoretically possible to design a nationwide grid to power the country. it doesn’t make any economic sense to send electricity from wind mills off the east coast and in Texas to California if that is what’s needed to make the system work. Half the electric output would be lost trying to balance uneven loads and sudden load changes.

    Electrical grids are essentially local for a good reason. It rarely makes economic sense to transport electricity, as opposed to coal, oil, or natural gas long distances because there are serious transmission losses. A tankerful of oil or a natural gas costs only the tiny fraction of the energy for transport.

    Does anyone care to try and calculate the internal rate of return to justify battery backup for all non-dispatchable renewals for Puerto Rico for several months of grid down time?

  36. “We need a free market in energy in the worst possible way.”

    There is a difference between energy and electricity.

    The power industry takes energy and converts it to electricity which is distributed to users via transmission lines.

    In a free market, you are free to make your own electricity.

  37. “BTW, wind doesn’t reduce the need for natural gas. Even gas fired plants can’t respond quickly enough.”

    Assuming 5% of the power is coming from wind, then 5% is not coming from someplace else. Since nuke plants do not load follow, that leaves coal and natural gas.

    The US grid is able to respond to changes in demand and generation.

    If MarkW would like to provide a link to how fast power plants respond, I would read it.

    • Wind in the UK absolutely does reduce the use of natural gas.

      As wind ramps up in the UK, gas is turned off.

      Take a look here at the charts on how UK electricity demand is being met: see gas drop as wind rises.
      (No, UK gas plants are not kept running all the time for when the wind drops: demand and wind prediction is sufficiently advanced to make that not the case)
      http://gridwatch.templar.co.uk/

      • But the truly undependable Wind and Solar are still quite dependant upon having that reliable Fossil Gas back-up

  38. “Gouging is just another way of saying, charging more than I want to pay.”

    What MarkW wants is irrelevant.

    An example of the way the power market works. If one company has excess power that cost $20/MWh and your power company produces power at $30/MWh, when your power company buys power at a lower cost, it lowers your bill.

    An example of gouging is when the $20/MWh is being sold at $100/MWh.

  39. “I find it fascinating how confident you are that even though business people can’t see 10 years into the future, politicians will be able to see 60 years into the future.”

    MarkW apparent got it wrong when he read what I wrote.

    I have zero confidence in those who do not understand recent past. I said nothing about business people or politicians in the context of 10 and 60 years.

    Power companies have responsibilities and plant to meet them. If a new power plant is needed in 10 years, now is not too soon to get started. Power plants often operate for 60 years.

  40. I quite agree. Subsidies to counter-balance the distortions of subsidies or other Government Policy are always a second-best to scrapping the original subsidies.

  41. Ignoring base load requirements in subsidizing an injected political agenda economically forces subsidization of base load requirements as well. An exercise is politics.

  42. “Nuclear Plants are subsidized already.”

    Karl is just wrong. Operating nuke plants pay huge amounts of taxes to local, state, and federal governments. These operating costs are more than fuel costs.

    I personally have paid huge sums to the same governments.

    The nuclear industry also contributes to the trade deficit. Such thing as fuel assemblies and engineering services.

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