The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Monday rejected Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal to prop up coal and nuclear power plants.
In a unanimous order released Monday afternoon, the five-person commission — four of whom President Trump nominated — said Perry and other supporters of the proposal failed to show that current electricity markets are not just or reasonable, findings that would be necessary in order to mandate the higher electricity payments that Perry sought.
The rejection is a major victory for natural gas, wind, solar and other industries that compete with coal and nuclear. They joined with conservative activists, environmentalists, grid experts, big businesses and others in opposition to the proposal.
But in a concession to coal and nuclear, FERC launched an effort to formally ask electric grid operators what they are doing, if anything, to ensure that their grids remain resilient, which was the goal of Perry’s plan.
“The [Federal Power Act] is clear: in order to require [grid operators] to implement tariff changes as contemplated by the Proposed Rule … there must first be a showing that the existing [grid] tariffs are unjust, unreasonable, unduly discriminatory or preferential,” the commission wrote. “Neither the Proposed Rule nor the record in this proceeding has satisfied the threshold statutory requirement of demonstrating that the [grid] tariffs are unjust and unreasonable,” it said.
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