Late last week, the Department of Energy (DOE) directed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to open a rulemaking proceeding to provide “full recovery of costs” for power plants that keep 90 days of fuel supplied onsite. DOE officials stated that such rulemaking would enhance the resilience of the nation’s electric system and “protect the American people from energy outages expected to result from the loss of this fuel-secure generation.” The DOE’s much-anticipated grid resiliency study, released at the end of August, did not find a clear link between retiring coal and nuclear power plants and reduced grid reliability. However, the agency is asking federal regulators to presume that’s the case, and create a rule that could provide coal and nuclear plants with additional financial support. Providing such a financial crutch to uneconomic and pollutant power plants would not only be wildly expensive and cause major disruption to established power markets, but it would also be at the expense of investments in solar, wind and other clean alternatives.

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