Coal casualties

THE Obama administration’s carbon-fearing war on coal is starting to claim coal-fired power plants that are needed to avoid power outages.
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Obama's energy policy is widely referred to as anti-coal.

Blair Price

According to the Boston Globe the Brayton Point power plant, the second biggest in New England, will shut down in 2017 even though grid operator ISO New England recently determined it was a “must-run” facility.

However, ISO has reportedly since offered assurances that special transmission operating plans will be in place to deal with unexpected transmission or generation outages in Brayton’s absence.

The coal-fired power plant was deemed uneconomic due to the US shale gas boom, the plant’s age and “increasing environmental regulations”.

Over to Kentucky, House Subcommittee on Energy and Power chairman Ed Whitfield called the Tennessee Valley Authority's decision to close the coal-fired Paradise units 1 and 2 another result of “President [Barack] Obama’s promise to bankrupt the coal industry”.

"The closure of Paradise units 1 and 2 will be yet one more casualty in an ongoing effort by the Obama administration to stop the production and use of coal in Kentucky and across America," he said.

"Now, when unemployment is at its highest amongst coal-reliant communities in Kentucky, the Obama administration is effectively compelling TVA and other utilities to close more coal-fired power units and create further job losses."

Outages during peak demand periods are becoming more of a concern, with the cold snap earlier this month forcing TVA to power down Murray State University’s electricity use, closing the campus and leaving 37 students residing there over the holidays without heat in their dorms.

“Even though Murray State University has a contract that allows power-downs during extreme weather, the Obama administration's extreme actions on coal could very well exasperate power shortages," Whitfield said.

"I cannot recall a case when a president ever made a promise that he would bankrupt an entire industry but that is precisely what is happening with the coal industry and this president."

Whitfield, along with Senator Joe Manchin, recently introduced legislation aimed at stopping the Obama administration from setting emissions standards for new and existing coal-fired power plants.

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