“Innovate, Not Eliminate” A Catch Phrase Worth Remembering

Over the past several months, a number of Congressional leaders and other policymakers have echoed many of the points we have made on the obstacles that stand in the way of decarbonizing the electric grid by 2035.  Among the points we have seen highlighted is the importance of maintaining a diverse electricity grid, that includes coal, to help ensure the nation can continue to produce reliable, resilient, and affordable electricity. 

Another point we have seen mentioned is the one that Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has stated when he argues that energy policies should focus on the need to “innovate, not eliminate” our way to a national carbon-free grid. While this phrase may seem ambiguous to some, for those who are charged with ensuring the grid remains reliable and resilient, such as grid operators and state utility officials, it holds the key to ensuring our grid remains reliable and our electricity remains affordable during its ongoing transition away from traditional sources of electric generation.

In his recent column in The Exponent Telegram, former West Virginia Public Service Commissioner Jon McKinney breaks down the logic behind Senator Manchin’s point. Without adequate technology advancements and a clearer understanding of how adding more renewables to our grid will impact our daily lives, we cannot transition our grid in a cost-effective and secure way. It will be critical, former Commissioner McKinney states, for our elected officials to consider these elements as they seek to create legislation or other policies that will have an impact on our nation’s bulk power system.

These considerations are not novel ideas. Over the past year, America’s Power has heard from a number of energy experts, grid operators, and other policymakers cautioning the need to consider grid reliability and affordability challenges as we transition away from conventional sources of power.  Many of these policymakers echo and agree with Senator Manchin’s point that the best path forward would be to adopt policies that can help ensure a future role for all energy sources.

You can read McKinney’s column here: https://www.wvnews.com/theet/opinion/columns/time-to-innovate-not-eliminate/article_69276df4-3855-11ec-b321-1342ca580318.html

Download PDF of his article here: https://americaspower.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/McKinney-Time-to-innovate-not-eliminate-103121.pdf