Grid Reliability on the Hot Seat
House Energy Subcommittee
Hears from Grid Operators

America’s electric grid was again the focus of Congressional oversight, this time at a September 28 House Energy Subcommittee hearing to examine the state of grid reliability. Like previous hearings, this one touched on misguided energy policies and proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules that are undermining grid reliability and driving a reliability crisis because of the rapid loss of dispatchable resources. 

The Subcommittee heard from a panel of seven Independent System Operators (ISOs) and Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) that collectively are responsible for two-thirds of the U.S. power grid. The grid operators made clear their concerns and warnings about the early retirement of 24/7 energy resources.  

Here are a few of their remarks:   

“I don't think adding renewables is the reliability challenge. It's the retirement of conventional generation. That's our challenge.”

“Beyond the overall resource adequacy question, dispatchable generation also provides, right now, the majority of the grid services we need; the flexibility, the ramping, those types of services that we need to balance the grid to operate the grid reliably.”

“Transforming the grid is easy in concept, it's very difficult and challenging in practice; there are multiple moving parts, and the timing and coordination of making those decisions is critical. If the pace of retirements gets ahead of the pace of replacing the lost reliability attributes, that's when we could get into a reliability situation.”

“The technology for a non-synchronous (wind and solar) type of generation grid is just not there yet. And it's going to take years for that to advance. And in the meantime, we need a bridge to be able to get to the future. And that bridge is going to be thermal dispatchable generation.”