Catherine Rampell’s June 5 op-ed, “A new kind of ‘free market’,” revealed a glaring misunderstanding of the electricity market and the dynamics that have pushed well-operating coal and nuclear power plants into early retirement.
Far from being free, the electricity marketplace has been shaped by overzealous regulation and enormous subsidies for renewable-energy sources. Renewable portfolio standards and tax credits, such as the Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit, have pumped tens of billions of dollars into energy sources that simply wouldn’t have been built without government largesse. According to a 2017 Congressional Research Service report, renewable sources of power received $11.4 billion in subsidies in 2016, 63 percent of total tax-related support for energy sources that accounted for just 12 percent of U.S. energy production.
Far from losing in a fair race, coal generation has been forced to compete wearing the lead shoes of heavy-handed regulation while its competitors have enjoyed the benefit of performance-enhancing subsidies. It’s past time to return balance to the electricity marketplace and ensure our most reliable and resilient sources of electricity generation are properly valued.
Hal Quinn, Washington
The writer is president and chief executive of the National Mining Association.
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- On June 11, 2018