Three national business associations representing the wind, solar, and broad advanced energy industries have called on U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to “initiate a public process” to gather input to inform the 60-day study he has ordered on electricity markets and reliability.
In a letter to Secretary Perry, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) welcomed the Department of Energy’s examination of today’s electric power system, but stressed that the growth of wind and solar power neither accounts for the challenges now facing coal-fired and nuclear power plants in the nation’s electricity markets nor represents any threat to reliable electric power.
“We note that these homegrown energy resources are proven technologies that help support grid reliability,” the industry associations wrote. “These energy resources have already been integrated smoothly into the electric power system in large and increasing amounts, as demonstrated in countless studies and, more importantly, in real-world experience across the U.S., including in Texas.
“Furthermore, we note that policies supporting the deployment of these technologies are not playing an important role in the decline of coal and nuclear plants. Numerous studies have conclusively demonstrated that low natural gas prices and stagnant load growth are the principal factors behind the retirements in coal and nuclear plants.”
A memo from Secretary Perry dated April 14 directed the Department of Energy to conduct a study that would “explore critical issues central to protecting the long-term reliability of the electric grid” and report back in 60 days from April 19.
The industry groups also asked that the DOE study “follow standard practice and be conducted in an open and transparent manner,” noting that it is “customary” for agencies developing reports that provide policy recommendations to allow public comment on a draft, prior to the report being finalized.
“Public input, including from energy market participants, grid operators, and regulators, would help ensure that any resulting recommendations from the study are based on the best available information,” wrote the industry associations.