Grid Reliability is Priority One at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Why Is Reliability Not a Priority at the Environmental Protection Agency?

At a May 4 hearing, commissioners from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) delivered a sobering message to members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources – it is not possible to eliminate coal and maintain a reliable electric grid. FERC Chair Willie Phillips pointed to warnings from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) that impacts to reliability will get worse.

Contrary to these warnings, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed severe limits on carbon emissions that will force the closure of more coal-fired power plants, although recognized by energy experts as one of the most dependable sources of electricity. The carbon emissions rule, EPA’s third rule since March targeting coal-fired power plants, is part of a calculated bid to accomplish what President Biden has set out to do declaring, “We’re going to be shutting these [coal] plants down all across America.” The warnings keep coming; it is time that the administration and EPA stop ignoring them.

Watch Committee Chair Joe Manchin (D-WV) and FERC commissioners discuss grid reliability and read several comments from the hearing:

“[Reliability] is and it must be always job number one. We face unprecedented challenges to the reliability of our nation's electric system.”

“As an engineering matter, there is no substitute for reliable, dispatchable generation. Intermittent renewable resources like wind and solar are simply incapable, by themselves, of ensuring the stability of the bulk electric system.”

“We are retiring dispatchable generating resources at a pace and in an amount that is far too fast and far too great, and it is threatening our ability to keep the lights on. Now the problem is not the addition of wind and solar and other renewable resources. The problem is the subtraction of dispatchable resources such as coal and gas.”