WASHINGTON, May 17, 2017 - Energy Secretary Rick Perry may not have sought out the advice of renewable energy groups when he asked his staff to prepare a new study, but he’s getting an earful anyway.
Four national organizations submitted materials to Perry on Tuesday to “inform” the energy market study he called for in an April 14 memo. The four groups developed separate analyses, showing that changing energy sources – more use of natural gas, renewable energy, and energy management sources, in addition to resources like coal and nuclear power – increase electric system reliability, while saving consumers money.
In their transmittal letter, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), and Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) also expressed concern that the promised DOE study could be based on “a faulty premise” – “that renewable generation is responsible for the retirement of coal and nuclear generation resources, and that the loss of those resources will lead to declining reliability of the grid.” Here are their respective reports:
- AEE: Changing the Power Grid for the Better – shows that today’s electric generation mix is more diverse than ever; low-priced gas primarily driving change in resources, followed by flat load growth and competition from renewables; ERCOT and PJM experience shows reliable grid management with high degree of variable renewables and even in extreme conditions.
- ACORE: Energy Fact Check – The Impact of Renewables on Electricity Markets and Reliability – an ACORE-produced report covering questions around baseload power and economic impact raised in Secretary Perry’s April 14, 2017 memorandum.
- AWEA: Renewable Energy Builds a More Reliable and Resilient Electricity Mix. Grid operators are already reliably integrating large amounts of wind energy, and their studies show they can go much higher. Integrating renewables on the power grid costs less than integrating baseload sources; modern power electronics enable renewables to provide reliability services as well as or better than conventional power plants; and renewables diversify the energy mix, improving economics and resiliency. Renewables are not the primary factor undermining baseload sources – as can be seen by maps of where each is predominantly located, cheap natural gas is the primary factor.
- SEIA: Solar & Renewables Benefit Grid & The U.S. Economy – Solar and renewables provide significant advantages to the national grid in terms of reliability, fuel diversity and national security. This SEIA review highlights multiple studies showing that the existing grid can handle high penetrations of renewable energy to the benefit of ratepayers, grid system operators and system performance.
The groups concluded: “We believe that, taken together, these reports demonstrate that the U.S. electric power system is more diverse in its energy sources than ever before, and due to the flexible way these resources are now managed, becoming more reliable and resilient as a result.”