Published March 14, 2023
By Concentric Staff Writer
Federal energy and environmental regulators agreed to a framework to collaborate on electric reliability as the U.S. grid transitions to zero-emission resources and warnings come of possible problems in the future.
The March 9 memorandum between the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency describes the “roles and responsibilities” of each agency with regard to reliability, which has become more of a question as electric generation resources are retired and replaced with renewables, energy storage, energy efficiency, and demand response.
The memorandum “also outlines activities that our agencies will undertake individually and collectively to monitor, share information and consult to support the continued reliability of the electric system,” the document states.
Noted in the memorandum is that each plays a role in the creation of policy and disbursal of funds for the power sector and that both have expertise in the role of maintaining electric grid reliability. The framework will be revised and amended “as necessary.”
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates wholesale energy markets and the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil, will also engage with the EPA and DOE on reliability, the memorandum states.
The document states that the U.S. electric grid has undergone a rapid transition to low- and zero-emission energy resources, energy efficiency, and demand response concurrent with a rise in extreme weather events, including heat waves, droughts, and intense cold that have caused electricity outages. In August 2020, heat wave-related rolling outages struck California, and in February 2021, severe cold crippled electric-grid infrastructure in Texas, leading to hundreds of deaths.
The memorandum comes after the PJM Interconnection in February issued an analysis saying that reserve margins are declining in its 13-state region for the first time due to 40 GW of generation retirements, including 25 GW of policy-driven retirements, as demand grows. Also, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. in its December 2022 Long-Term Reliability Assessment identified the California/New Mexico region, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, and Ontario, Canada as regions or areas as “high risk,” where anticipated reserves will fall below margins considered necessary to meet reliability thresholds.
All views expressed by the author are solely the author’s current views and do not reflect the views of Concentric Energy Advisors, Inc., its affiliates, subsidiaries, or related companies. The author’s views are based upon information the author considers reliable at the time of publication. However, neither Concentric Energy Advisors, Inc., nor its affiliates, subsidiaries, and related companies warrant the information’s completeness or accuracy, and it should not be relied upon as such.