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Utility Drive: Energy groups pan NERC generation retirement report for 'extreme' assumptions

Posted by Gavin Bade on Dec 19, 2018

Utility Dive covers the response of energy and consumer groups to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC’s) generation retirement report. AEE concerns are stated by Jeff Dennis. See excerpts below and read the entire Utility Dive story here:

Dive Brief:

  • A wide swath of energy and consumer groups criticized a report on power plant retirements released by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) on Tuesday, saying it presents unrealistic scenarios and should not be used to influence grid planning.

  • The report assessed an accelerated retirement scenario where 30% of coal and 35% of nuclear capacity goes offline by 2022. In that case, NERC officials said some regions may need "new market constructs" and "out of market constructs" to slow the pace of plant shutdowns, along with new natural gas and power infrastructure.  

  • Renewable energy, natural gas and consumer groups said the report represents an improvement on a draft document that tested a higher level of coal retirements, but said the final report still includes scenarios that "are not economically plausible" based on current market structures…

Clean energy groups said the recommendations in the report focused too heavily on fuel-based solutions — like storing coal, oil or nuclear fuel onsite — and not enough on contributions of new technologies. 

"We are very focused on availability of solid and liquid fuels and we've seen less focus on the ability of advanced energy technologies ... to step in and perform," said Jeff Dennis, general counsel for regulatory affairs at Advanced Energy Economy, a trade group. "We're very focused on single attributes of single technologies and not a broad suite of technologies and how it works together to provide a reliable grid."

Dennis said continued debate over different fuel source attributes is likely to continue in 2019 as FERC assesses coal and nuclear compensation in its resilience proceeding. 

"I think we're going to spend 2019 talking about ... the attributes of fuel and other things," Dennis said. "You're going to hear us talking about looking at the whole system and the contributions of emerging and advanced energy technologies."

See the complete Utility Drive story here. Also, RTO Insider (subscription) released a related piece on the subject quoting Jeff Dennis as follows:

“As NERC itself states, the report looks at unlikely scenarios that go far beyond either announced or projected power plant retirements to determine at what point there might be some risk for reliability,” said Jeff Dennis, general counsel for regulatory affairs at Advanced Energy Economy. “The report does not provide evidence of any imminent threat to the reliability of the bulk power system. Nor does it suggest that competitive wholesale energy markets aren’t up to the job of ensuring reliability as the resource mix changes.”

Topics: AEE In The News