DOE and coal

DOE and coal

February 20, 2018 | By Keith Martin in Washington, DC

Coal plant retirements may be delayed by the US Department of Energy.

The department is reportedly considering an emergency order to keep certain coal plants owned by First Energy Solutions operating.

Section 202(c) of the Federal Power Act gives the US government authority in time of war or an emergency due to a sudden price increase or shortage of energy to issue orders to keep power plants operating. If an affected party does not agree with an order, DOE can set just and reasonable terms after a hearing held before or after the order is issued. If the order conflicts with existing federal, state or local environmental laws, it will expire within 90 days unless DOE renews the order after consulting with the Environmental Protection Agency.

The terms of any such order could include that the plants must be fully compensated for their operating costs during the emergency, according to Bob Shapiro with Norton Rose Fulbright in Washington.