Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Friday that his plan to subsidize the coal and nuclear industries won't disrupt the market.
Perry's department announced at the end of September a proposal to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which would grant as much as $3.7 billion in loan guarantees to the owners of the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in Georgia for the construction of nuclear reactors. The department's previous loan guarantees, including one to a solar panel maker that later went bankrupt, have attracted some criticism from Republicans.
One of the FERC's three commissioners, Republican Rob Powelson, told utility representatives that the commission "will not destroy the marketplace… Markets have worked well and markets need to continue to work well," according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
"I think it's really important for people to understand, in general terms, there is no free market in the energy industry," Perry said at a Veterans for Energy meeting, according to The Hill. "And anybody that gets up and says that is lying — is not, with all due respect, educated as to what the reality of the market is."
Perry also said that his proposal "wasn't a directive," but his way of telling the FERC, "let's have this conversation about making sure that we have an energy foundation that's stable, resilient, and I happen to think that coal and nuclear should be a part of that."
Powelson's fellow commissioner, Cheryl LaFleur, endorsed the former Texas governor's plan on Wednesday.
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