Washington, DC — Yesterday, NERC (North American Electric Reliability Corporation) released a Special Reliability Assessment to evaluate the risks to the reliability and resilience of the electricity grid from the significant loss of fuel-secure baseload generation. While NERC’s review is not a forecast of expected future conditions, it does represent a credible stress-test of the system subjected to a substantial loss of fuel-diverse baseload generation. Nearly 40% of the nation’s fleet of fuel-secure coal-fired power plants has already retired or announced plans to retire and it is likely that there will be additional retirements in the coming years.
America’s Power (ACCCE) issued the following statement by Michelle Bloodworth, President and CEO:
“We commend NERC’s analysis for highlighting concerns about the reliability and resilience of the grid if coal retirements accelerate. With that in mind, we believe, first, that policies should be put in place to prevent more retirements. In addition, valuing fuel security is important to preventing retirements and protecting electricity consumers,” said Bloodworth. “Second, there are substantial hidden costs associated with continued retirements that are rarely quantified. For example, NERC pointed out the need for new transmission and fuel infrastructure if retirements continue,” added Bloodworth. “We urge FERC, grid operators and public utility commissioners to not only acknowledge these hidden costs but to quantify them. We believe these costs should be an explicit consideration in retirement decisions,” Bloodworth concluded.
Among the advantages of the coal fleet is the important role it plays in providing fuel security for the electric grid. NERC’s newest study joins reports from the Department of Energy, grid operators, and other policymakers who have all expressed concerns that coal retirements are becoming a risk to the resilience of the electricity grid.
America’s Power (ACCCE) is a partnership of industries involved in the production of electricity from coal. Coal is an affordable, reliable, and fuel-secure electricity source that provides almost one-third of our nation’s electricity.