Trump’s Coal Subsidy Plan Could Cost $35 Billion Per Year

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Depending on the exact nature of Trump and Energy Secretary Rick Perry's plan to subsidize coal-fired and nuclear power plants, it could cost as much $35 billion per year according to an alliance of energy groups.

In a case of strange bedfellows, the wind, solar, oil and gas industries have united to oppose Trump's subsidies, which haven't been formally announced yet, and they say it will cost tens of billions each year under most circumstances.

Giving power plants an out-of-market annual payment of $50 per kilowatt of capacity -- roughly the average operating shortfall for plants running at a deficit -- would cost $16.7 billion a year, according to a report Thursday from The Brattle Group. Another model that includes a return on invested capital, as the U.S. Energy Department proposed last year, could cost $20 billion to $35 billion per year. [...]

It assumes the government’s effort to keep unprofitable power plants running would apply to all operating U.S. coal and nuclear plants. A third scenario that subsidizes only power plants experiencing shortfalls would range from $9.7 billion to $17.2 billion per year, according to the report.

If the Trump regime plays favorites and tries to subsidize just a select group of power plants, like those who purchase coal from billionaire coal dipshit Bob Murray, it would cost less but $9 to $17 billion is still a lot.

And let's be clear where this money would come from. It would come from you, the person reading this.

Average Americans would pay more for their electricity under this plan because regional utility funds would be socialized and redirected to the coal and nuclear power plants of Trump's choosing.

Given last week's news, these may be conservative estimates. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced last week that he's considering a tariff on foreign uranium. If those tariffs are implemented, the annual cost of subsidizing nuclear power plants could increase by 10 to 30 percent depending on how large the tariffs are.

  • Badgerite

    Subsidizing the most dangerous and dirty pollutants on the planet is not what I would call far sighted policy.
    This people are not ‘conservative’. They are just nuts and power hungry.

  • Draxiar

    It’ll be great to have an environmental president. President Obama did some good things in that direction but it was not enough. In all fairness he walked into an economic shit show that was an immediate priority so he did what he could.

  • muselet

    Golly gee, I thought Rs didn’t like the gummint!—most especially the fedrul gummint!—picking winners and losers.

    I guess I was, as Rick Blaine famously explained, misinformed.


  • simpfan

    Let’s also subsidize typewriters, horse buggies, and video rental stores. If we’re going to be stupid and prop up dead industries, let’s be really stupid.

    • ninjaf

      While at the same time raising tariffs to increase the costs of all of those things!