A disruption to Michigan’s natural gas supply forced residents to lower thermostats and caused automakers to suspend operations, providing support for Trump’s coal efforts.
The incident began on Wednesday, last week, when a fire at a compressor station cut off natural gas supplies from the station, prompting Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to call on consumers to reduce usage during the coldest day of the year.
As a result, there have been increasing calls to enhance the regional coal industry.
“We are going to be hearing about this for years,” said Mike McKenna, a Republican energy strategist. “It will be used, rightly, as an example of the value of nuclear and coal — and as an example of the challenges of relying too much on one fuel for both generation and residential heating.”
During US President Donald Trump’s reign, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry has already identified the need to hold sufficient energy 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.
During last week’s polar vortex that swept across the US, energy leaders highlighted the reduced power supply from wind turbines, which were left vulnerable to damage from the extreme conditions.
“Time and again, when faced with bitter cold, coal generation comes to the rescue,” said National Mining Association spokesman Conor Bernstein. “It shouldn’t take these extreme weather events to remind us of the value of a diverse fuel mix, but the message is clear: Fuel diversity is the increasingly overlooked but deeply important element of a reliable supply of power.”