U.S. Plan to Aid Coal and Nuclear Plants Gets a Bipartisan Thumbs Down From Past Regulators FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Washington Post;Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s bid to change regulations to help coal and nuclear power plants has run into unusually blunt opposition from a group of former regulators from both parties.Eight former members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission — including five former chairmen — have filed a letter with the commission opposing Perry’s proposal that would give coal and nuclear plants credit for resilience so that they would have a better chance of beating solar, wind and natural gas competitors.The former commissioners said that Perry was seeking to reverse a quarter century of FERC reforms that have created a marketplace for electric power generators and that many of the coal plants he is aiming to help have no advantage when it comes to reliability.“His focus is clearly coal and there are a lot of dirty coal plants that are not competitive in today’s energy markets,” Elizabeth Moler, a former FERC chairwoman, former deputy energy secretary and former Exelon executive, said in an interview. “To me he’s effectively proposing to subsidize them and put a tax on consumers in doing so. It’s a tax in different clothing. It’s going to cost customers more money to run dirty old coal plants.”In early October, Perry made his proposal to FERC and asked for a decision within 60 days. He proposed that credit be given to power plants with 90-day fuel supplies on site so that they could operate during an emergency including extreme weather or a natural or man-made disaster.FERC is an independent agency, however, and some current members have indicated that the commission would make its own decision. Even one of President Trump’s nominees has stressed FERC’s independence. Robert F. Powelson, who was confirmed in August, said in a speech at the National Press Club on Oct. 16 that “the moment we put our thumbs on the scale is the moment we bastardize the process.” In an earlier speech on Oct. 4, Powelson said “we will not destroy the marketplace.”Over the past quarter century, FERC has helped create regional electricity grid operators with the ability to accept bids from power plants to supply electricity to the grid. The competition has attracted tens of billions of dollars of investment in natural gas and renewable power sources.The former commissioners’ letter to FERC said Perry’s proposal “would be a significant step backward from the Commission’s long and bipartisan evolution to transparent, open, competitive wholesale markets” and that it “would instead disrupt decades of substantial investment made in the modern electric power system, raise costs for customers, and do so in a manner directly counter to the Commission’s long experience.”The group wrote that “subsidizing resources so they do not retire would fundamentally distort markets. The subsidized resources would inevitably drive out the unsubsidized resources, and the subsidies would inevitably raise prices to customers.”It said that “investor confidence would evaporate and markets would tend to collapse. This loss of faith in markets would thereby undermine reliability.”Pat Wood III, who was chairman of FERC under President George W. Bush, said that “I understand the politics. I’m sympathetic.”But he said that the reliability Perry said he wanted to favor had more to do with transmission and distribution than it did with they type of fuel used.The group’s letter acknowledged that there are federal tax subsidies for every kind of fuel, but it said that “one step the Commission has never taken is to create or authorize on its own the kind of subsidy proposed here.”Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said Thursday that FERC should shelve the Perry proposal.“Arbitrarily propping up a dying industry goes against what the GOP has long claimed is its goal – an all-of-the-above energy strategy,” Wyden said in a statement. “This rule clearly picks winners and losers in energy resources, which robs taxpayers of the benefits of competitive markets.”More: Bipartisan group of former FERC commissioners rejects energy secretary’s bid to help coal plants
When the final whistle blows Sunday afternoon at McAlister Field, five USC women’s soccer players will jog across the field, applaud the fans and sign autographs one last time.No. 9 USC (11-4, 3-1 Pac-10) hosts Oregon State on Friday at 3 p.m. and Oregon on Sunday at 1 p.m. in what is the last homestand for the Women of Troy this season.Road’s end · Redshirt senior defender Meagan Holmes, who has played at USC for five years, will play her final games at McAlister Field. – Young Kim | Daily Trojan“It hasn’t really [sunk in yet]. The season’s gone by quicker than I could even imagine,” redshirt senior Meagan Holmes said.Holmes is more accurate in her statement than she might think. This is the earliest last home game for the Women of Troy in more than 12 years.“It’s crazy that the end is almost here. We only have three weeks of guaranteed play left,” redshirt senior Marihelen Tomer said. “It’s crazy how the last five years, never mind four years, goes by.”But the season isn’t over yet. After suffering a humbling 4-0 defeat to No. 1 Stanford last week that snapped the Women of Troy’s nine-game winning streak, USC bounced back to defeat Cal in overtime 3-2.The victory at Cal helped USC get back on track, especially since the Women of Troy had a two-goal lead in the second half. But the combined six goals that USC allowed in the second halves of both games last weekend concerned coach Ali Khosroshahin, and the Women of Troy know they have to improve in this area if they want to sweep their last homestand.“We need to be more consistent and trust each other. We really haven’t put together a solid two halves,” Tomer said. “I think we’ve put in some strong halves here and there, but putting together the full 90 and working hard and together is what we’re going to try to come out and do this weekend.”The Women of Troy also learned in the games last weekend that the team breaks down when verbal signals can’t be heard. While the football team has speakers to emulate crowd noise, the soccer team doesn’t have that luxury. So, the Women of Troy had silent scrimmages this weekend, where the only communication came from non-verbal signals.“We’ve noticed when we do give up goals it’s when we’re unable to hear each other,” Holmes said. “So we’ve been working on finding each other’s eyes and communicating without verbal language.”Holmes has had to work harder this year than most because of the youth of the team. Six starters are sophomores or freshman, including two on the backline. But three of the starters are graduating seniors who will be playing their last game on McAlister Field.Senior goalkeeper Kristen Olsen broke the USC all-time shutouts record two weeks ago by notching her 26th shutout of her career. She’s started all but one game for the Women of Troy this year and became just the third player in conference history to notch back-to-back Pac-10 Player of the Week Honors.Tomer has started every game in the midfield for USC and is fourth on the team in points. And lastly, the former All-American Holmes missed the first part of the season with a knee injury, but she returned a few weeks ago to anchor a young backline that was in need of some veteran leadership.“She has so much experience, so much composure. She’s had a real calming effect on the team,” Khosroshahin said. “She does her job whether she’s hurt, healthy, sick. You know what she’s going to do, and you can say that for the entire group.”The other two seniors that will be honored on Senior Day will be midfielder Jamie Petrossi and backup goalkeeper Brittany Massro. Those two, combined with the three starters, have made a lasting impression of the entire team.“They’ve set an unbelievable precedent for behavior in and out of the classroom and on the training grounds,” Khosroshahin said. “They’ve done an enormous job ensuring discipline is the cornerstone of everything we do and they’ve made some very difficult decisions over the past year to make certain the program’s going to be moving in the right direction after they’re gone.“It’s up to the rest of us to make certain we send them off on a high note this weekend,” Khosroshahin said.