A broad coalition of industry groups from oil drillers to solar energy firms say coal and nuclear power producers don't deserve the new market incentives that Energy Secretary Rick Perry is proposing.
The industry coalition said Tuesday that groups representing the coal and nuclear industry had not made a strong enough case before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to deserve the incentives, and said the proposal should be swiftly rejected.
"The Commission is simply not authorized to provide an entire class of generation with a new payment stream, whether temporary or permanent, based on a desire to keep all options open for the future," the coalition said in a final round of reply comments on Perry's proposal submitted to FERC.
The reply comments marked the final step before the commission moves to make a final decision on Perry's incentives proposal sometime next month.
The industry coalition explained that the Federal Power Act holds FERC "to a higher standard" by insisting that it prove that the payments to coal and nuclear are necessary due to some practice that discriminates against those power plants.
This would translate to coal and nuclear power plants being the victim of "unjust and unreasonable" rates in the FERC-overseen wholesale electricity markets.
"Such a showing has not been made and, thus, the proposed payments cannot be required by the Commission," the coalition wrote in response to coal and nuclear proponents. "While the undersigned support the goals of a reliable and resilient grid, adoption of ill-considered discriminatory payments contemplated in the [Energy Department proposed rule] is not supportable — or even appropriate — from a legal or policy perspective."
The Nuclear Energy Institute, which supports Perry's proposal, used the coalition's support for addressing the goals of a more reliable and resilient grid as reason enough for the commission to act.
“Generation resilience and resource diversity are critical to our ability to continue providing reliable electric supply, and those attributes are not currently valued by the markets," the nuclear group said in its response comments. "Few parties dispute either point. That alone provides a basis for the commission to act.”