The Cold Blast Hasn't Changed Anyone's Mind on Trump's Coal Aid

Why Investors May Need to Become Weather Experts

America’s power grid survived the recent arctic blast without any major blackouts. That hasn’t exactly changed the minds of people on either side of the debate over what’s needed to keep the country’s electricity sector reliable.

The freezing spell came right before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is set to act on Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s controversial plan to bail out coal and nuclear plants. Supporters want to reward these plants for keeping big stockpiles of fuel on site, saying it can keep homes warm and lights on during stressful times like the recent cold snap. Opponents say there are plenty of ways to back up the grid without costing ratepayers billions of dollars a year. Here are some quotes from friends and foes of the plan in recent days:

  • “It isn’t enough for us to hope for warmer temperatures to keep the lights on or keep electricity affordable,” said Michelle Bloodworth, chief operating officer of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.
  • “If a power outage occurs, it likely will be because of downed power lines from high winds and heavy snow, not because of generation shortages,” said Pat Remick, a spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
  • “The eagerness to write off coal reached a noisy climax when coal’s power market rivals belittled Energy Secretary Perry’s call,” said Luke Popovich of the National Mining Association.
  • “Renewables are driving technological advances that modernize the grid, increase its security and lower operating costs,” said Marcela Miceli of Climate Nexus.
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