In a move one might expect from the likes of President Maduro of Venezuela or Vladimir Putin of Russia, President Donald Trump is looking to force grid operators to buy electricity from coal fire and nuclear plants in hopes of delaying their downfall, according to Bloomberg News.
The move is uncharacteristic of the typical Republican mantra of free-market capitalism and would “represent an unprecedented intervention into U.S. energy markets”.
The Energy Department would exercise emergency authority under a pair of federal laws to direct the operators to purchase electricity or electric generation capacity from at-risk facilities, according to a memo obtained by Bloomberg News. The agency also is making plans to establish a "Strategic Electric Generation Reserve" with the aim of promoting the national defense and maximizing domestic energy supplies.
The Trump administration claims the move is needed “to stop the further premature retirements of fuel-secure generation capacity”, according to a draft memo circulated Friday.
While administration officials are still deciding on their final strategy -- and may yet decide against aggressive action -- the memo represents the Energy Department’s latest, most fully developed plan to intervene on behalf of coal and nuclear power plants, pitched to the president’s top security advisers.