New Report Finds Coal Essential to Grid Reliability and Resilience During Winter Storm Elliott

For Immediate Release 

February 23, 2023



Washington, D.C. – A new report, “Operation of the U.S. Power Generation Fleet During Winter Storm Elliott,” analyzes the performance of traditional power sources and renewable energy during the December 2022 storm that brought record-setting low temperatures and high electricity demand to most of the country. Coal, natural gas, and fuel oil provided 94 percent of the additional electricity that was needed when demand peaked because of Elliott. In addition, the analysis shows the increase in power plant outages during extreme weather caused by insufficient supplies of natural gas which is not stored on site like coal.

“Storm Elliott proved again that coal power plants are essential to ensuring a reliable supply of electricity. Importantly, coal plants have on-site fuel storage, which makes them more dependable than natural gas plants, wind farms, or solar panels. Unfortunately, the retirement of coal plants is undermining grid reliability and, therefore, must stop. Otherwise, we get closer every day to the reliability crisis that others have been warning about,” said America’s Power President and CEO Michelle Bloodworth. 

Energy Ventures Analysis, Inc. (EVA) authored the report. “The U.S. electric power supply system is at increasing risk of inadequate power generation during periods of high electricity demand, especially during winter storms. The energy transition away from power generated by fossil fuels and nuclear toward intermittent power supplied by wind and solar requires increased availability of energy storage. Yet, the development of new battery storage lags far behind the pace of retirement of existing power plants with on-site fuel storage, especially coal plants. This report demonstrates how dependent the power supply system is on the remaining coal fleet, much of which will retire this decade unless policies are changed to limit closures,” said Seth Schwartz, EVA Managing Director.

From the report:

(Other regions of the country have no or much less coal-fired generation that can be called on to prevent electricity shortages.)

View full report HERE


America’s Power is a partnership of industries

involved in producing electricity from coal.