The Trump administration is pushing back against assertions it buried a study that undermines its efforts to prop up coal and nuclear power plants.
The analysis, which was initially ordered up by the Energy Department’s Office of Nuclear Energy last fall and completed earlier this year, is still moving through an internal review process, spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said.
“It is premature and irresponsible to criticize and jump to politically motivated conclusions about a report that has not yet been finalized or released,” Hynes said by email. The study disputes a key Trump administration argument for preventing the closures of more coal and nuclear power plants: that those facilities are critical in ensuring the nation’s electric grid is resilient because they store their fuel on site.
Such “fuel-secure” facilities play a vital role in keeping electricity flowing because they aren’t dependent on natural gas from pipelines that can be disrupted, wind that keeps blowing or a sun that sets at night, administration supporters say.
But the analysis, conducted by the University of Texas’s Webber Energy Group, says that on-site fuel is only one factor in judging the resilience and reliability of power generators.