October 4, 2018 - A North Dakota coal council is seeking extra compensation from transmission operators for coal-fired power plants after federal regulators rejected a proposal that would've propped up the state's main power source.
Lignite Energy Council plans to approach regional transmission organizations about paying more for coal-fired power because it's considered more reliable during times of natural disaster, the Bismarck Tribune reported.
The move comes after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected a U.S. Department of Energy proposal in January that would've paid power plants for keeping coal on hand. Energy Secretary Rick Perry had suggested that the commission adopt a rule that pays base load power plants for having 90 days' worth of on-site fuel, but opponents questioned how much on-site fuel improves a source's reliability.
It would be unusual for a transmission organization to pay more for power because the entity tries to provide its members with an open market to buy and sell power, giving them the most cost-effective choice.
Lignite Energy Council President Jason Bohrer said paying more for resilience is cheaper in the long run due to the greater cost of losing power during an environmental catastrophe. He said the council plans to present evidence on resiliency's importance to transmission organizations, such as Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) and the Southwest Power Pool.
The council aims to "inform, not influence," Bohrer said.
The transmissions organizations will make the judgment, he said.