DOE expects no coal subsidies

While individual states roll out initiatives to shore up the economics of nuclear generating facilities, the Department of Energy (DOE) is explicitly rejecting the idea of government help for economically troubled coal-fired plants that some contend are needed to ensure grid stability during extreme cold weather episodes.

The DOE’s position represents a departure from its earlier stance that plants keeping a 90-day fuel reserve on-site merited special considerations to keep them available even if they were economically uncompetitive in wholesale markets.

DOE Assistant Secretary Bruce Walker told reporters, “Nobody I know is looking at subsidizing coal, period,” after addressing a conference of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) in Washington, D.C., a Platts report said.

Walker’s NRECA address stressed the need for grid resilience in the face of growing reliance on intermittent generation sources. He told the co-op audience the DOE regards coal as just one of several generation types available to backstop reliability in the event of problems with natural gas-fired plants served by pipelines.