Utility Dive – The Department of Energy "would never" use its emergency authority under the Federal Power Act (FPA) to keep uneconomic generators online, Assistant DOE Secretary Bruce Walker said Tuesday.
This month, Bloomberg reported DOE is considering an order under 202(c) of the FPA to keep coal plants online that otherwise may retire due to market forces. But Walker, whose office would typically issue such an order, said DOE "would never use a 202 [order] to stave off an economic issue."
Walker said DOE is also working with other federal agencies and regional neighbors to construct a reliability and resilience model for North American energy infrastructure. That model aims to help identify weaknesses in the power and gas sectors and drive investment and operations decisions to address them.
The Federal Power Act gives the Secretary of Energy the authority to issue must-run orders to individual plants in the case of an emergency, exempting them from emissions regulations and insulating them from market forces.The rule is not often used, but was deployed by Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in April 2017 to keep a large coal plant online in the Southwest Power Pool until other generators that could provide reliability services came online. Earlier orders from the Trump administration targeted a dam in Oklahoma and two Dominion Energy coal plants in Virginia.
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