DOE fighting for the right to be in the Stone Age

Picture of Energy Secretary Rick Perry

March 2018, President Trump required heads of agencies to review current orders, guidance documents, policies, agency actions and more by signing Executive Order (EO) 13783 which was created & signed to help unravel former energy regulations & to promote U.S. energy independence while spurring economic growth. So, in April 2017 United States Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Rick Perry directed his staff to form a task force of experts to study & review the reliability of U.S. electricity markets.

The task force was directed to review three aspects of the current electricity market:

  1. The extent regulations interfere with the markets efficiency
  2. If wholesale, capacity & government handouts are adequately compensating coal electricity producers
  3. The extent tax policies & mandates are limiting handouts to coal electricity producers

The task force produced a 187 page document that unveiled startling discoveries such as:

  1. The U.S. electricity market will face global competition and challenges from renewable energy providers (no way, says who?)
  2. Energy is getting cheaper (really?)
  3. Electricity is crucial to modern society (when wasn’t it crucial?)
  4. Electricity helps people see at night & promotes safer streets (why weren’t they embarrassed to write this stuff?)
  5. Natural gas replaced coal as main source of electricity (I got tired of hearing this on the news, why didn’t they know it?)
  6. There’s more you’ll have to read for yourself

The reports data for the study was primarily gathered by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) which places blame on five primary drivers of the coal industries demise:

  1. Unconventional natural gas production (shale)
  2. The 2008 recession
  3. Wholesale electricity markets (Regional Transmission Operators (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs)
  4. Government interference through environmental regulations, taxes, mandates, state & federal policies
  5. Variable renewable energy resources (VRE) such as wind & solar energy

Conclusion, the coal industry must survive, government subsidies are required while new energy providers should be forced to subsidize coal as well. Lastly, regulations controlling coal pollution and environmental damage must be rolled back to make the dying industry sustainable and possibly profitable. In a press conference Secretary Perry said we learned a lot from the task force work such as which way is up or down and which way is left or right. He continued, before renewable energy without coal there would of been nothing but darkness at night, coal changed that reality, thank you. No one clapped, the audience waited for the punch line but that was it.

More can be found at https://www.energy.gov/articles/statement-secretary-energy-rick-perry-doe-s-regulatory-review-report-president and at https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2017/10/f38/EXEC-2017-003431%20Final%20EO%2013783%20dated%2010-24-17.pdf and at https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2017/08/f36/Staff%20Report%20on%20Electricity%20Markets%20and%20Reliability_0.pdf

The U.S. Pushes to Increase Global Coal Use

Picture of Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen

Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee Representative Rodney P. Frelinghuysen said “This bill will target funding to where it’s needed the most, ensure U.S. dollars are being put to good  use to expand democracy and peace and provide critical humanitarian assistance in war-torn, disaster-affected, and impoverished areas of the world”. That’s nice, high five for the words.

The quote is taken from the July 2017 press release of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations. In reviewing the fiscal year 2018 State and Foreign Operations Bill it becomes obvious where U.S. priorities lie. What gets funded is important whereas what doesn’t get funded is unimportant. So, let’s take a quick snapshot of what’s unimportant.

The bill cuts Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding, Operations funding for the State Department and global diplomatic funding. Reduces funding to the United Nations (UN) and various other affiliated organizations. The bill continues reductions for OCO international security assistance, funding to the USAID Office of the Inspector General and programs regarding proper management & review of the appropriate use of U.S. funding.

The bill continues with reductions in OCO funding for bilateral economic assistance to foreign countries, cuts funding to international organizations and banks and doesn’t include funding for Green Climate, International Debt Relief, Panel on Climate Change and The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and more. The bill does provide funding for rolling back coal regulations allowing coal-fired projects to be conducted by U.S. companies in foreign communities with the justification of taking cost effective, good quality technology to developing nations.

Alas the bill continues funding Israeli projects while cutting funding to Palestinian causes. These changes can be viewed as good or bad depending on who’s doing the viewing. It seems funding for good causes are down while funding for war, occupations, criminalizing commoners, reducing education, protecting state & corporate rights is up. Aside from buying coal stock, I’d like to know where do I sign up to benefit from the other changes that are to the detriment of other nations?

More can be found at https://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=394988 and at https://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bills-115hr-sc-ap–stateforop-fy2018stateforeignoperationsappropriations.pdf