President Donald Trump ordered his energy secretary to take immediate action to stem power plant closures, arguing that a decline in coal and nuclear electricity is putting the nation’s security at risk.
“Impending retirements of fuel-secure power facilities are leading to a rapid depletion of a critical part of our nation’s energy mix and impacting the resilience of our power grid,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in an emailed statement Friday. Trump has directed Energy Secretary Rick Perry “to prepare immediate steps to stop the loss of these resources and looks forward to his recommendations.”
Trump’s directive comes as administration officials search for ways to extend the life of money-losing coal and nuclear power plants that face competition from cheaper natural gas and renewable energy. The plants are considered “fuel-secure” because they house coal and nuclear material on site and are not dependent on pipelines that can be disrupted, wind that stops blowing or a sun that sets.
Coal producers rose on the news, with Peabody Energy Corp. climbing the most since Aug. 1, 2017 and closing up 4.8 percent to $45.35. Arch Coal Inc. rose 2 percent to $83.81. Consol Energy Inc. gained 3.7 percent to $45.70, while Alliance Resource Partners LP was up 1.3 percent to $19.50. The Stowe Global Coal Index was up 1 percent.
Administration officials are still weighing the best approach, Sanders said. The National Security Council was to meet Friday to discuss the Energy Department’s latest idea for shoring up the facilities.
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