President Donald Trump has ordered “immediate steps” to stop coal and nuclear power plants from closing, the White House said on Friday, as the administration looks at a plan to intervene in US electricity markets to support unprofitable generators. Many power industry groups criticised the move, arguing that interference in the market was unnecessary and would raise prices for electricity consumers. Sarah Sanders, the White House spokeswoman, said in a statement on Friday that impending retirements of “fuel-secure power facilities”, meaning coal and nuclear plants, were “leading to a rapid depletion of a critical part of our nation’s energy mix, and impacting the resilience of our power grid”. Mr. Trump campaigned on a pledge “to bring the coal industry back 100 per cent”, but his efforts have so far met with little success. Coal mining employment has risen by 2,200 to 52,900 since the election in November 2016, but the industry remains under pressure. Coal-fired plants supplied 30 per cent of US electricity last year, the same proportion as in 2016, and are expected to supply 29 per cent this year, according to the government’s Energy Information Administration. The White House statement on Friday said Mr Trump had directed Mr Perry to “prepare immediate steps to stop the loss of these [coal and nuclear] resources”. Financial Times

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