April 17, 2018

Manchin Champions Legislation to Protect Coal-Fired Power Plants

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced the Energy Reliability Act of 2018 and a Senate Resolution on Grid Resilience and Reliability to ensure the continued operation of coal-fired power plants in West Virginia and across the country. The cumulative effect of over-regulation and market rules that disadvantage baseload power, among other factors, has resulted in ongoing closures and retirement announcements for coal-fired and nuclear power plants. These coal-fired and nuclear units provide our grid with 24-7 resilient reliable power but they are struggling to stay operational. 

“As a West Virginian, I know that coal-fired power is the engine of our economy, powering industry and creating good paying jobs in our state. During extreme weather, coal has literally saved lives. Time and time again, coal-fired power plants have kept the lights on when other forms energy could not. While I believe we need a long-term comprehensive energy policy, we cannot ignore the fact that our electric grid will continue to rely on coal,” Senator Manchin said. “My legislation will help reverse some of the damage the Obama administration did to the industry - saving and creating jobs in the process.  It will give coal-fired power plants a tax credit to ensure that these plants can continue to provide the resilient and reliable electric generation that our country relies on.” 

The Energy Reliability Act of 2018

The Energy Reliability Act of 2018 would provide a temporary federal tax credit to support the nation’s coal-fired electric generation fleet in an effort to ensure coal-fired units are available to provide critical reliability and resilient attributes to our electric grid, while policymakers and regulators find solutions to prevent disruptions in our electric supply due to the ongoing retirements of coal-fired power plants and other baseload generation.  

Senate Resolution on Grid Resilience and Reliability

The impending deactivation of many coal-fired and nuclear power plants is of great concern for our grid, for our communities, and for our nation.  In addition to the loss of jobs and threats to the economic livelihood of the communities in which these plants sit, our region and our nation’s electric grid will become less resilient if no action is taken to keep these plants operational.  Furthermore, it is in the nation’s security interests to preserve adequate amounts of generation from coal-fired and nuclear generation in order to address growing concerns with the reliability and resilience of our electric supply, as well as to preserve diversity of generation in our electric sector.   Therefore, this resolution expresses the sense of the Senate that the electricity markets should fully value the reliability and resilience attributes of all generation resources serving the Bulk Power System.