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