Both Wheeling papers featured an article about Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray who was not pleased with FERC’s decision to reject the Trump plan to “strengthen the nation’s power grid” by supporting coal and nuclear power plants. The headline
Robert Murray Blasts Federal Agency’s Decision on Power Grid
adequately summarizes the article. In the article, Murray used the recent cold wave to demonstrate the need for the Trump plan:
Murray disputed that and said the recent cold snap that hit the East Coast showed coal’s value, as power users in the Southeast were asked to cut back on electricity usage because of a shortage of natural gas. “If it were not for the electricity generated by our nation’s coal-fired and nuclear power plants, we would be experiencing massive brownouts and blackouts in this country,” he said.
Since the article cited no specific examples, I went looking for possible power shortages during the recent cold weather and found two: on January 2 both South Carolina Electric and Gas and the Tennessee Valley Authority asked customers to voluntarily reduce energy consumption. (The TVA canceled their request that afternoon.) On the other hand, media reports suggest that the power grid responded very well during the cold snap. Here’s the Washington Post’s report:
The cold weather and swirling winds gripping the northeastern United States have created the sort of winter scenario that Energy Secretary Rick Perry has cited as a reason to bolster the reliability of the grid by boosting coal and nuclear power plants. Perry said that only those power plants could assure reliability because only they could keep 90 days’ fuel supply on site.
But so far in this windy two-week cold snap, the region’s electricity grid has responded with little disruption, and without any need to rev up aging coal plants, which supplied 6 percent of electricity in New England on Thursday.
Ironically, it was one of the energy sources (nuclear) that Murray endorsed that caused a problem:
And the biggest failure Thursday came from a power line failure that forced Entergy Corp. to shut down its 688 megawatt Pilgrim nuclear power plant in eastern Massachusetts. No homes were affected, however, because the grid reserve was three times as big.
While it was not reported locally, the Murray Energy CEO also appears to be displeased with the Trump administration:
From CNN Money:
Coal CEO slams Trump for picking 'inadequate bureaucrats'
And from The Hill:
Coal mogul: Trump should fire energy officials for rejecting Perry plan
The CEO of the nation’s largest privately held coal mining company says President Trump should fire four of the five commissioners who rejected Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s plan to help coal and nuclear power plants.
Robert Murray, head of Murray Energy Corp., said the members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), an independent agency, “defaulted” on their duties by rebuffing the plan to stop coal and nuclear plants from closing. Supporters said the reliability of the electric grid was at stake.
“I believe that the Trump administration, with the exception of Neil Chatterjee, picked three bad appointees for FERC. And they should all be fired,” Murray told The Hill on Tuesday.