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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has rejected Energy Secretary Rick Perry's controversial proposal to guarantee financial returns for coal-fired and nuclear power plants in some markets.

Instead, in a notice Monday, the commission, which includes four of five regulators appointed by President Trump, said it's launching a new process to review power system resilience, and asking regional electricity market operators to submit information within 60 days that helps FERC "holistically" explore the topic.

Why it matters: Perry's proposal last fall was among the administration's most aggressive steps to prevent coal and nuclear plants from shutting down amid intense competition from natural gas, flat power demand and the growth of renewables.

Quick take: FERC’s unanimous action is a sign that while the Trump administration has taken a suite of steps to aid the coal industry, finding policies that directly counteract the powerful forces that have diminished the fuel’s market share will be a major challenge.

Perry has argued that keeping at-risk coal and nuclear plants online is important for the resilience and reliability of the grid in the future.

However, the plan drew strong pushback from a coalition that included natural gas and renewables interests and some free-market groups, which said it painted an inaccurate picture of the extent to which coal and nuclear generation is needed to ensure a resilient and reliable grid.

The notice Monday finds that Perry's plan failed to meet "clear and fundamental legal requirements" under the Federal Power Act.

What's next: FERC said that resilience will be a "priority" for the commission, and that its new proceeding will seek to "develop a common understanding among the Commission, industry, and others of what resilience of the bulk power system means and requires."

The commissioners said they want to better understand how regional grid operators assess the topic. FERC said it would use the information it gathers to "evaluate whether additional Commission action regarding resilience is appropriate at this time."

Go deeper

41 mins ago - Sports

U.S. swimmer Caeleb Dressel wins 50-meter freestyle final, sets new Olympic record

Caeleb Dressel during the men's 100m butterfly final at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Xavier Laine/Getty Images

American swimmer Caeleb Dressel won gold and set an Olympic record in the men's 50-meter freestyle on Saturday, beating his own world record that he set in 2020.

Details: Dressel didn't take a breath while in the pool to win the race in 21.07 seconds. France's Florent Manaudou won the silver medal, and Brazil’s Bruno Fratus bagged the bronze.

2 hours ago - Health

Florida records most new daily COVID cases in state since pandemic began

Nurses bring a portable x-ray machine to a treatment tent outside the emergency department at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, Florida, set up to serve as an overflow area as the number of COVID-19 infections surges throughout Brevard County. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida reported 21,683 new COVID-19 cases — the most in the state in a single day since the pandemic began, per data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday.

The big picture: Florida is now the U.S. coronavirus epicenter, with the Delta variant driving a surge, Axios Tampa Bay's Ben Montgomery notes.

Updated 5 hours ago - Health

Chart: Less than 0.1% of vaccinated Americans tested positive for COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: CDC and state Covid dashboards. Dani Alberti/Axios

Of the 164 million vaccinated Americans, around 125,000 people have tested positive for breakthrough infections and 0.001% have died, according to state data compiled from state dashboards by NBC and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: While "breakthrough cases" have been getting media attention, the low numbers show that the pandemic is mostly a threat for the unvaccinated population.