WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Cheap natural gas and the growth in renewable energy are speeding up the closure of coal and nuclear plants, putting the resilience of the U.S. electric grid at risk, according to an Energy Department report released on Wednesday. The long-anticipated study could rankle renewable energy advocates who fear the administration of President Donald Trump will undermine government support for the wind and solar industries as part of its broader drive to revive the ailing coal sector. Energy Secretary Rick Perry commissioned the study in April to evaluate whether “regulatory burdens” imposed by past administrations – including that of President Barack Obama – had forced the premature retirement of baseload power plants that provide nonstop power, like those fired by coal and nuclear fuel.
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