WASHINGTON, Oct. 11, 2017 - Industry stakeholders offered their take on improving the electrical grid last week before the House Energy Subcommittee. The panel was conducting part two of its review of the energy infrastructure.

The series, entitled, “Powering America: Defining Reliability in a Transforming Electricity Industry,” was held to gather information on a plan to modernize the nation’s century-old power grid.

“It is obvious the nation’s electric grid is undergoing profound changes that could challenge grid reliability and resilience,” testified Paul Bailey, president and CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

Lisa Jacobson, president of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, released a statement advocating diversity in creating the grid of the future.      

“The portfolio of currently available clean energy technologies and services in the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors – working with energy storage, demand response and micro-grids, among other technologies and services – is meeting the current needs of the grid affordably and reliably today and can meet the needs of an evolving electric grid into the future,” Jacobson said. “The transformation to a more diverse electric system that is occurring is not jeopardizing grid reliability and resiliency.”

In her testimony, Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO of the Energy Storage Association, told lawmakers that policies must keep pace with technology and market advances. She suggested several ways to do this, including by “removing barriers to energy storage participation in markets.” She also said markets should be designed to improve price signals for flexibility and resilience, and that conventional definitions of reliability should be expanded to “capture flexibility and resilience.”

Marty Durbin, executive vice president and chief strategy officer at the American Petroleum Institute, championed natural gas as an essential piece of grid reliability and assured the subcommittee of API’s support in strengthening the grid.

“The natural gas industry stands ready to work with all stakeholders to ensure that our nation’s electric grid is reliable, safe, and resilient,” Durbin said.

Representatives from the wide array of energy groups touted their sources as integral to moving America’s grid into the future. In his testimony, American Wind Energy Association CEO Tom Kiernan called for a level playing field for energy producers.

“We support the objective of maintaining a reliable and resilient grid,” said Kiernan, “which is best achieved through free and open markets, with a focus on needed reliability services – not sources – and a program to promote transmission infrastructure.”

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