• Trump administration looking to identify critical power plants in order to ensure they stay operating

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

The Trump administration appears to be advancing its new approach to attempt to provide financial assistance to the nuclear and coal industries, according to a story on the E&E News website. The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Department of Energy, and the National Security Council are working together to determine which power plants in the country are critical to the power grid in terms of providing power to military bases, hospitals and other vital infrastructure, such that wartime legislation can be used to ensure such plants stay open. According to FERC Chief of Staff Anthony Pugliese, the organisation is actively looking at ways to ensure that ‘resilience’ is valued, and is also making a push to expand its powers to be able to order states within the US to undertake certain projects. (New York is one state that Mr Pugliese has in mind – Governor Andrew Cuomo has blocked the approval of natural gas pipelines within the state. )The emerging picture is a complex one, with Mr Trump keen to avoid coal-fired plant closures for his political interests, a struggle for decision making power between the federal government and the states, and concerns about grid resiliency which are at least somewhat legitimate.