March 29, 2018 Read More →

Grid-Reliability Expert: U.S. Can Switch to Renewables Without Undermining Its Grid

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):

With the right policies and infrastructure, the U.S. could get most of its electricity from renewable resources without hurting the performance of the power grid, according to an official who helps develop and oversee compliance with reliability standards.

“Variable resources can be reliably integrated, but they need to be cautiously planned and operated,” John Moura, director of reliability assessment and system analysis at the North American Electric Reliability Corp., said March 28 at an event hosted by the U.S. Energy Association in Washington, D.C. “You can have 30, 40, 80% renewable resources, you just have to plan and operate the system correctly.”

Moura’s comments fit into a broader debate that erupted in September 2017 after Energy Secretary Rick Perry directed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure nuclear and coal-fired power plants receive more financial support for the reliability benefits Perry said they provide. FERC in January rejected the proposed rule, which critics skewered as a bailout of industries favored by the Trump administration.

“We’re reliability extremists,” said Moura, whose group became FERC’s designated electric reliability organization in 2006 after functioning largely as an industry group that created voluntary reliability standards. “But a lot of the challenges that we see aren’t insurmountable, and I think that that’s a key message. … We can transition to a grid that has whatever fuel you really want to power the system by. But policy changes are needed, structural changes are needed.”

More ($): US grid can run well no matter what fuels it uses, reliability official says

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