IER Statement on Department of Energy Grid Report

Energy Dept. report aims to boost coal nuclear power

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Last April, Energy Secretary Rick Perry issued a memorandum requesting DOE staff conduct a study to examine electricity markets and reliability, and this week the DOE released the results of the study, noting that several critical issues central to protecting the long-term reliability of the electricity grid were identified.

Obama introduced regulations meant to slash emissions of carbon dioxide, which are blamed for climate change.

Obama had introduced a raft of regulations meant to slash emissions of carbon dioxide blamed for climate change, a policy course that accelerated the retirement of older coal-fired power plants and bolstered the nascent solar and wind sectors, which depend heavily on weather conditions for their power output.

It's become most closely associated with coal-burning power plants that can capture and remove greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. “It is important for policy makers to consider their intended and unintended effects.”. It offered a list of policy recommendations to reverse the trend, including providing power pricing advantages for baseload plants to continue operating, and speeding up and reducing costs for permitting for baseload power and transmission projects. The report also implies that increased use of renewable energy could make the power grid unreliable in the future.

The administration had not yet reviewed the earlier draft, which was written by department staff.

The report questions whether coal and nuclear power plants should receive extra compensation because their fuel supplies are on-site but doesn't make an explicit recommendation on that point. The Center for Biological Diversity called the report's recommendations "dangerously misguided", and the Sierra Club also bashed the study.

"While we are still thoroughly reviewing the study, EEI has long advocated that our customers are best served by public policies that promote a balanced and diverse energy mix, which includes both traditional and renewable energy sources, and that also recognize the vital role 24/7 energy sources play in sustaining a secure, reliable, and resilient energy grid, said Tom Kuhn, the institute's president in a statement".

The Advanced Energy Economy, an association representing advanced, clean and renewable energy, found it significant that the report put blame for the demise of coal and nuclear on gas, rather than wind or solar.

AWEA said in a blog post that technological advances could allow wind energy to provide reliability services, such as fast ramping to regulate the grid's frequency signal.

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