Trump’s Plan to Prop Up Coal and Nukes Would Drive Up Utility Bills
WASHINGTON – Millions of Americans could see their monthly electricity bills increase under the Trump administration’s proposal to prop up the dying, dirty and dangerous coal and nuclear power industries, said EWG President Ken Cook.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry is urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to issue new rules that would force regional electricity suppliers to pay above-market-value prices for coal and nuclear power.
Currently, most operators of electrical grids shop around for the lowest-cost power sources available. But with the cost of solar, wind and other renewable energy sources steadily dropping, energy from aging coal and nuclear plants has trouble competing.
“The coal and nuclear industries aren’t winning on the open market, so the Trump administration wants to rig the system for them,” said Cook. “This scheme would force millions of Americans to pay higher monthly utility bills to keep these dying, dirty and dangerous relics of the energy sector on life support.”
“Of course, like most of the president’s schemes, this one is ill-conceived and will never work,” Cook added. “The markets have already set the course of energy production and consumption. The competition’s over and cheaper, safer renewables have won.”
Coal-fired power plants have been one of the leading causes of air pollution in the country and are major emitters of greenhouse gases that accelerate climate change. The Clean Air Task Force estimates that roughly 7,500 deaths each year are attributable to pollution from coal plants.
Nuclear power has been a financial disaster since its inception, depending on massive taxpayer subsidies for construction, operation and constant retrofitting to repair flaws. That’s before the incalculable cost of storing high-level nuclear waste for thousands of generations. People living near plants are endangered by routine venting of radioactive gases, and nearly every nuclear plant in the U.S. is leaking radioactive tritium into groundwater.