Coal and nuclear power plants have played a vital role in providing baseload power for the US during a recent bout of extreme weather conditions.
During the cold spell that has recently hit the US, signs of fatigue began to show across the nation’s power grid, which saw oil inventories depleted.
PJM Market reported 47,000 megawatts of electricity were produced from coal during the last weekend of 2017, compared to 21,000 MW from natural gas and 3,000 MW from wind turbines, highlighting the role coal plays in periods of extreme weather.
While supporters of renewable energies lobby for a rapid transition to wind and solar and the immediate closure of coal plants, it is made clear from recent events that coal plays an essential role in providing a reliable source of baseload power.
US Energy Secretary Rick Perry has already identified the need to hold sufficient supplies by pushing forward new regulations on power pricing, which will reward power plants that can maintain 90 days’ worth of supplies to ensure continuous provision, such as coal and nuclear.
However, on Monday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected the proposals, putting off any action until at least April.
Ohio based utility company, FirstEnergy Corp, said it was disappointed in the decision. In a statement, it said: “Without timely action, more of these facilities will close prematurely, jeopardising the ability to provide clean, reliable and affordable power to customers while harming economies across the region.”