We reported last month that the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the US federal agency responsible for coordinating and overseeing federal agency implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), had signaled its intention to update the CEQ’s longstanding NEPA-implementing regulations (40 CFR Parts 1500-1508).
President Donald Trump directed Energy Secretary Rick Perry late last week to “prepare immediate steps to stop the loss” of “fuel-secure power facilities” arguing that a decline in coal and nuclear generation is jeopardizing the nation’s security.
US Energy Secretary Rick Perry directed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in late September 2017 to undertake a rulemaking that would have enabled generation assets with secure on-site fuel supply (e.g., nuclear and coal plants) in organized markets to receive payments for reliability and resiliency.
The US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has published a new funding opportunity for up to $20 million as part of its Modeling Enhanced Innovations Trailblazing Nuclear Energy Reinvigoration (MEITNER) program.
Invoking rarely used statutory authority, on September 29, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry directed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to undertake a rulemaking to enable generation assets in RTOs and ISOs to receive payments for reliability and resiliency benefits that the DOE views as uncompensated under current market rules.
On August 23, 2017, the US Department of Energy issued the “Staff Report to the Secretary on Electricity Markets and Reliability” (Staff Report). The Staff Report was commissioned by the Secretary of Energy to provide an assessment of the reliability and resilience of the US electrical grid.
On May 23, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a notice inviting comments on the interplay between state policy goals and organized wholesale electricity markets. The referenced state policy goals involve state support for zero-carbon-emitting power plants, including nuclear power plants, generally in the form of tax credits.
As confirmed by an April 21, 2017 Defense Nuclear Facility Safety Board report, the Department of Energy (DOE) initiated the first in a series of long-awaited shipments of liquid Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU or target residue material) from Ontario, Canada’s Chalk River reactor to DOE’s Savannah River Site in Aiken, South Carolina. The target residue material stems from the legacy Atoms for Peace program, where the United States provided HEU for use, in part, as target material to be irradiated for the production of medical isotopes in foreign research reactors.
Classified information is slowly creeping into the day-to-day operations of businesses that have never before needed to comply with the strict requirements that accompany this information. And the questions being asked do not have intuitive answers: Can you refuse to hire an applicant who was arrested for drunk driving if the job requires obtaining a security clearance and accessing classified information?
Putting aside the climate change politics swirling around US President Donald Trump’s recent executive order on “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth,” what does the order mean for the nation’s electric generation portfolio? Can the gradual decline in the role of coal-fired generation be reversed?