As a couple of struggling energy companies are increasingly pressing the administration to invoke emergency powers to prop up their uneconomic power plants, we want to flag for you two important expert opinions on the matter that popped this weekend. Quotes below (emphasis mine):

David Schlissel, director of resource planning analysis, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis: “These are purely political machinations in response to market changes that continue to gain momentum toward a system that is much less reliant on nuclear energy and coal-fired plants than it has been historically and is being shaped increasingly by cheaper natural gas, wind and solar.”

John Hughes, president and CEO, Electricity Consumers Resource Council (ELCON): “Proposals that benefit a select few companies at the cost of consumers and the market’s ability to operate effectively are taxpayer bailouts that will cost billions. There is zero precedent of a long-term emergency order, and zero justification from independent experts to corroborate the request for one.

Further commentary from Schlissel and Hughes are below.

ELCON President And CEO John Hughes: “These Requests Go Against All Precedent,” And There Is “Just No Cause For All This Concern.” “Beyond 202(c), they have suggested using the Defense Protection Act (DPA), a national security law from 1950, to support these failing plants, claiming resilience and reliability as national security concerns. These requests go against all precedent, as corporations stand to profit from these decisions. Here’s the catch: There’s just no cause for all this concern. As the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis’ David Schlissel pointed out, ‘We see no evidence that [proposals to subsidize plants] would enhance the reliability of the grid in any way.'” (John Hughes, “Beware Proposals That Purport To Improve Electric Grid Reliability,” The Hill5/14/18)

Hughes: These Proposals Are “Taxpayer Bailouts That Will Cost Billions.” “Proposals that benefit a select few companies at the cost of consumers and the market’s ability to operate effectively are taxpayer bailouts that will cost billions. There is zero precedent of a long-term emergency order, and zero justification from independent experts to corroborate the request for one. The original NOPR underwent a lengthy process, having been submitted last fall and thoughtfully considered until January. Failing companies’ requests for a sudden and immediate override of that decision entirely circumvents a contemplative, fact-gathering process that exists for a reason: keeping politics out of the equation and protecting the market’s operating ability.” (John Hughes, “Beware Proposals That Purport To Improve Electric Grid Reliability,” The Hill5/14/18)

 Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis’ David Schlissel Writes That Calls For The Administration To Invoke Emergency Powers Are “Purely Political Machinations.” “These are purely political machinations in response to market changes that continue to gain momentum toward a system that is much less reliant on nuclear energy and coal-fired plants than it has been historically and is being shaped increasingly by cheaper natural gas, wind and solar.” (David Schlissel, “Subsidies Can’t Make Coal-Fired Plants Reliable,” The Hill,5/12/18)

Schlissel: Regarding The Argument At The Heart Of Emergency Power Proposals, “Nothing Could Be Further From The Truth.” “The fallacy at the heart of these proposals is that American power grids will collapse without federal protection of the coal and nuclear industries. This argument says national energy security is at risk because of the market-driven transition that is pushing the system toward other forms of fuel. Nothing could be further from the truth.” (David Schlissel, “Subsidies Can’t Make Coal-Fired Plants Reliable,” The Hill, 5/12/18)

Schlissel: Focus On Policies To Up Investment Rather Than “Strategizing Over How To Keep Dying Business Models Alive.” “Policies to encourage more investment in modernizing the grid, and to discourage further strategizing over how to keep dying business models alive, are in the country’s best interest. There lies the way to true national energy security.” (David Schlissel, “Subsidies Can’t Make Coal-Fired Plants Reliable,” The Hill, 5/12/18)