DOE grid report: Renewables not a threat to reliability - Smart Energy Decisions

Power Prices, Regulation, Regulation, Solar, Wind  -  August 24, 2017

DOE grid report: Renewables not a threat to reliability

Following months of controversy and speculation within the energy industry, the U.S. Department of Energy on Aug. 23 released a report outlining the findings of its study on electricity markets and reliability and attributing the retirement of traditional baseload generation primarily to low natural gas prices. 

Energy Secretary Rick Perry had ordered the study, which was to focus on the impacts of an accelerating amount of renewable energy being added to the U.S. generation mix, in a mid-April memo to his chief of staff. That memo reportedly called on the DOE 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," Bloomberg News reported at the time. 

In countering, to an extent, worry that the report would release a biased study, given the campaign promises of President Donald Trump to revive the country's coal industry, containing pre-determined conclusions that "existing policies to encourage continued adoption of clean energy sources must be scaled back," the report did not find renewable energy to be a threat to U.S. grid reliability. 

It does, however, offer policy recommendations and calls on federal energy and environmental regulators to support coal, nuclear and hydroelectric power, according to a report from The Hill

The report recommends streamlining the regulatory process for hydropower, that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission not add to nuclear plant operating costs and that regulators “allow coal-fired power plants to improve efficiency and reliability without triggering new regulatory approvals and associated costs.” [...] The DOE report also supports conducting more research into the integration of renewable power into the electric grid, but it doesn’t take aim at state or federal policies that have helped wind and solar power grow.

The full study is available from the DOE's website

Keywords: doe, Rick Perry

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