By Rich Heidorn Jr.
PHILADELPHIA — Energy Secretary Rick Perry hasn’t given up on his campaign for coal and nuclear generation, but he conceded Tuesday he hasn’t made much progress either.
Speaking at the Edison Electric Institute’s 2019 annual conference, Perry said he continues to support an “all of the above” generation mix, praising coal and nuclear as the “most reliable” generation resources and criticizing the “blatantly discriminatory rules and regulations” he said are hampering them.
Perry called out the Obama administration and Green New Deal Democrats who he said want to ban anything but wind and solar power. “They will ruin our ability to run our economy when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow,” he said.
He also criticized New York officials for blocking new natural gas pipelines, saying they were to blame for the “bizarre spectacle” of New England having to import Russian LNG last winter.
In a press conference later, Perry conceded “we’re pretty much at the same point where we were” after the White House failed to act on the Department of Energy’s proposal for price supports for “fuel secure” generation last fall. (See Chatterjee Dodges as DOE Spins on Coal Bailout.) It followed FERC’s January 2018 rejection of Perry’s call for cost-of-service payments to coal and nuclear generators. (See FERC Rejects DOE Rule, Opens RTO ‘Resilience’ Inquiry.)
Perry said he has seen “no movement from FERC or the White House.”
But it’s not all bad, he said, citing “progress” on research into carbon capture and expanded coal exports.
After his speech, Perry sat for a brief interview with incoming EEI Chair and Exelon CEO Chris Crane.
Crane thanked Perry for the electric load provided by the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory in Commonwealth Edison territory in Lemont, Ill.
“Keep the prices down,” Perry responded.
“Keep the nuclear plants running,” Crane shot back, before fist pumping with the secretary.
“We rehearsed that,” Perry joked.