The EPA administrator believes that renewables have their role in the mix, but that it is not wise to dependent too much on them. Fossil fuels, like coal, and nuclear and hydro are all needed, he said at the event on Monday. The energy focus should be on resiliency, stability and fuel diversity, Priutt said, without mentioning the effect on the environment as a factor.
Commenting the tax incentives and other forms of support for wind and solar, Pruitt noted that this is not an EPA decision, but still he would like to see renewables like wind “stand on their own” and face competition from coal, natural gas and other sources.
These comments come as the Department of Energy (DOE) and US Energy Secretary Rick Perry are actually seeking ways to provide financial support for power generators with on-site fuel supplies, such as nuclear and coal power plants, to fully value their reliability and resiliency attributes. A recent study in the US showed that coal and nuclear plant retirements have been on the rise because of the advantaged economics of natural gas-fired power generation. Low growth in electricity demand and the rise in use of variable renewable energy (VRE) resources have also helped make older, higher-cost power capacity redundant. At the end of September, Perry directed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to take measures to ensure the US does not lose such power generators.