Trump orders ‘immediate steps’ to boost coal, nuclear plants
Author: Associated Press - June 1, 2018 - Updated: June 1, 2018
The directive comes as the Trump administration considers a plan to order operators of the nation’s power grid to buy electricity from coal and nuclear plants to keep them open.
The action by the Energy Department, if ordered, would represent an unprecedented intervention into U.S. energy markets.
A draft memo by the Energy Department urges federal action to “stop the further premature retirements of fuel-secure generation” from coal and nuclear plants that have struggled to compete with natural gas and renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the memo.
The plan would direct grid operators to buy power from coal and nuclear plants for two years to ensure grid reliability, “promote the national defense and maximize domestic energy supplies.”
The memo was first reported by Bloomberg News.
Colorado’s coal mines produced 15.2 million tons last year, up by 2 million from 2016, the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety says.
About two-thirds of the state’s coal comes from Arch Coal’s West Elk Mine, east of Grand Junction, and Peabody Energy’s Twentymile Mine in northern Colorado.
Xcel Energy has been converting some of its coal-fired power plants in Colorado to cheaper natural gas and has proposed closing down coal-fired units 1 and 2 at its Comanche Generating Station, just outside Pueblo.