Perry orders DOE grid study on clean energy impacts to baseload generation - Smart Energy Decisions

Power Prices, Regulation, Utilities  -  April 17, 2017

Energy secretary orders grid study of renewable energy impacts to coal, nuclear generation

Energy Secretary Rick Perry has reportedly ordered a study of the U.S. grid, with a focus on the impacts of an accelerating amount of renewable energy being added to the U.S. generation mix.

The April 14 memo reportedly calls on Perry's chief of staff to explore whether "policies that favor wind and solar energy are accelerating the retirement of coal and nuclear plants critical to ensuring steady, reliable power supplies," according to Bloomberg News. Reviving the fossil fuel industry had been a campaign pledge of President Donald Trump, and the administration has already taken aim at a number of environmental regulations on power plants, including the U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan.

Bloomberg reported that Perry's memo "suggests that the administration may be looking for other ways to keep coal plants online." The request followed by a day Perry's appearance at an event to celebrate the operations of a new carbon capture and enhanced oil recovery system in Texas. 

Bloomberg News reported April 15: 

Perry highlights concerns about the "erosion" of resources providing "baseload power" — consistent, reliable electricity generated even when the sun isn't shining and the winds aren't blowing. "We are blessed as a nation to have an abundance of domestic energy resources, such as coal, natural gas, nuclear and hydroelectric, all of which provide affordable baseload power and contribute to a stable, reliable and resilient grid," Perry wrote in the memo to his chief of staff. But in recent years, grid experts have "highlighted the diminishing diversity of our nation’s electric generation mix and what that could mean for baseload power and grid resilience."

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