By June 20, 2017 Read More →

Renewable energy sources not harmful to US grid reliability

Renewable energy

A study by Analysis Group found that Renewable energy sources delivered secure energy to the US power grid and that aging, inefficient coal and nuclear plants were retired based on market factors, not government subsidies or policies.  iStock photo.

Renewable energy groups brace for Trump administration analysis

Two companies concerned that the Trump administration will soon release a report undermining renewable energy industries released their own report on Tuesday.

In mid-April, Energy Secretary Rick Perry directed the Department of Energy to conduct a study to “explore critical issues central to protecting the long-term reliability of the electric grid,” and to analyze “market-distorting effects of federal subsidies that boost one form of energy at the expense of others.”

The report was to be tendered in 60 days.

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Believing the soon-to-be-released study would be slanted to favor fossil fuels, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) and American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) commissioned a report by Analysis Group to determine if subsidies played a role in the decline of coal and nuclear and if renewable energy negatively impacted the nation’s power grid.

According to the Analysis Group report, market forces, primarily low-cost natural gas and flat demand for electricity, caused some older, less economic coal and nuclear power plants to retire, not state and federal policies which supported renewable energy development.

Susan Tierney, senior advisor with Analysis Group wrote “This is a natural consequence of market competition. The result is a more diverse set of energy resources on the grid that is being capably managed in a way that provides reliable electric power.”

Along with the above findings, the report concluded factors such as rapid growth in use of renewable energy technologies and state policies supporting renewables contributed to reducing the profitability of less economic assets.  But, the report says, these factors are secondary to market fundamentals that caused financial pressure on merchant power plants without long-term power contracts.

Aging resources also contributed and often represented the efficient exit of uncompetitive assets.

“The electricity system in the United States is stronger than it’s ever been,” says Graham Richard, CEO of Advanced Energy Economy, adding renewable energy sources do not harm the US electrical grid system.

Richard said “The Analysis Group report highlights how advanced energy technologies are helping to modernize the grid and how grid operators are well equipped to manage this market change.”

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Tom Kiernan, CEO of American Wind Energy Association said he agrees with the Department of Energy’s opinion that reliable and affordable electricity is essential.

He says the report issued by AWEA and AEE “finds that wind and other advanced energy resources, driven by markets and technological advances, are improving electric reliability and reducing costs.”

Both Richard and Kiernan hope the DOE will use data from the Analysis Group report in their report.  The AEE, AWEA report has been submitted to the Department of Energy for review.

“As DOE finalizes its report on reliability, we hope the Department will incorporate these key findings, which reflect the true state of the grid,” said Richard.





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