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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

President Trump's Plan to Resuscitate Coal Industry Could Jeopardize $900 Million Lordstown Project

From the Youngstown Vindicator:
The day after becoming the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee in May 2016, Donald Trump made a promise at a campaign event in Charleston, W.Va. 
“We’re going to put the miners back to work,” he said, as thousands of coal miners got to their feet. “We are going to get those mines open.” 
Watching the speech on television, Bill Siderewicz was bewildered. 
“I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’” said Siderewicz, president of Boston-based Clean Energy Future LLC, which operates numerous gas-fired, wholesale electricity generation plants in Ohio and is bringing a $900 million natural-gas power plant to the village. 
Lordstown Energy Center, located on a site in the Lordstown Industrial Park, is slated to be up and running next month, and Clean Energy Future has plans to invest a similar amount into building a second plant nearby. 
An energy policy proposed by the Trump administration, however, could derail plans for the second Lordstown plant and send companies such as his running from Ohio, Siderewicz said. 
Trump recently directed U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to take steps to keep coal and nuclear plants running, a proposal Siderewicz said has caused consternation among many in the energy industry. The proposed bailout, which came to light May 31 when Bloomberg published a leaked memo from the Department of Energy to the National Security Council, has united a broad swath of interests, including petroleum, renewable energy, wind energy and natural gas groups, in opposition. 
Although Siderewicz voted for Trump, he had hoped the president would stay away from the energy industry if elected. 
Siderewicz is now sounding the alarm on the potential negative impacts of the policy. He said a bailout of the coal industry would shatter Ohio’s competitive energy market, endanger investments in gas-fired plants and cost consumers and businesses billions in higher electricity rates.
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