Coal and uranium could see significant growth in the US markets as the Department of Energy (DoE) opens public discussion around new regulations on power pricing, which encourage “reliability and resiliency”.
The proposed rules will reward electricity producers that can maintain 90 days’ worth of supplies to ensure there are continuous provisions. Electricity grid operators will have to provide “full cost recovery” to these power producing facilities to compensate for their ability to stockpile.
Power plants that produce solid fuel, such as coal and nuclear, will be the primary beneficiary of the law as they can keep large fuel inventories on-site.
Therefore, should these regulations be implemented, the US is likely to see a significant rise in the number of coal power stations, with the associated costs being paid back to energy companies.
Champions of the proposed law say it is required in order to provide secure baseload power to the grid and ensure reliability within the system.
The US Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, said in an interview coal had been “discriminated against” and the previous administration had neglected to promote the importance it has on securing a reliable source of energy, whilst also helping to balance the markets.
Perry said he had drafted the proposal, “partly to have a very open conversation, to force a debate about this issue.” The regulations have been used to force coal back onto a national platform, having been debated on state and regional levels for several years.
While the US has been using its position in the World Bank to promote the use of coal to help developing countries grow, the commodity could now also be used to provide resilience to the country’s own power network.