- A Majority of Americans Support U.S. Government Action to Safeguard Baseload Energy Supplied By Coal and Nuclear
October 26, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) this week closed its comment period on a proposal from the Department of Energy (DOE) that FERC take swift action to address threats to baseload power provided by coal and nuclear, 51 percent of Americans agree with the premise of the proposal – and just 18 percent oppose it – according to new polling conducted by Morning Consult for the National Mining Association (NMA). Thirty one percent were unsure or did not answer.
“Completely missing from the debate over grid reliability has been the most important perspective of all: that of the American family,” said Hal Quinn, NMA president and CEO. “Americans expect the lights to come on when they flip a switch, not bear the risk of future blackouts or electricity rationing. Today’s poll shows that Americans believe the government should be doing more to ensure a reliable, resilient and affordable power grid.”
American households and businesses have long relied on dependable electricity provided by a combination of: coal and nuclear plants that allow for fuel storage on-site, natural gas plants that rely on pipeline delivery of fuel, and renewables such as solar and wind supplying power when possible.
However, in just the past seven years, due to a combination of overregulation and market forces, 108,000 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired generating capacity has retired or has announced plans to retire – enough to power more than 65 million American homes.
Power generated from fuels that can be stored on-site is rapidly being replaced by natural gas and renewables. Consistent with the DOE proposal, the poll shows Americans believe that the government should take steps to retain coal and nuclear power plants that can provide power through high-impact events such as extreme weather and cyber-attacks, which might interrupt operations at sites that are unable to store fuel on-site.
This poll was conducted from October 24-25, 2017, among a national sample of 2,201 adults, with a margin of error of +/-2.
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