In a groundbreaking move echoing the concerns of the energy industry, high-ranking Senate Republicans are urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to forthwith scrutinize the ramifications of President Biden’s stringent restrictions on fossil fuel power plants on electric grid reliability. The flag bearers of this vital initiative are Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member, John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Environment and Public Works Committee Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.
Top Republicans raise alarm on Biden's power plant regs: 'Growing risks to electric reliability' https://t.co/z1jeTD9yFV
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On Wednesday, the senators penned a letter to the four members of FERC, expressing apprehensions that the current power plant regulations under the Biden administration could escalate grid reliability issues. Their letter strongly advocated for urgent discussions with entities falling under FERC’s jurisdiction to evaluate the potential effects of the Clean Power Plan 2.0.
The letter read, “Without such a record, FERC’s consultations with EPA are likely to be ineffective,” and further stated, “EPA clearly lacks the expertise to project accurately the impact of its rulemaking on electric reliability without deeply informed and engaged participation from FERC and those subject to its jurisdiction that are charged with the obligation to generate and deliver electricity in order to meet continuous demand for electric service.”
Emanating from these concerns, the senators proposed that FERC convene a series of technical conferences to investigate the administration’s power plant regulations and probe its “unjustifiable claims about the future availability of technologies.”
In May, the EPA announced regulations targeting fossil fuel-fired power plant emissions as part of the wider climate directive under Biden. They hope to avert as much as 617 million metric tons of carbon pollution through 2042. The rules demand utilization of carbon capture technology or closure for coal and gas plants.
However, warning bells are ringing from industry groups and experts who fear premature retirements of reliable power sources and subsequent power supply shortfalls. Notably, fossil fuels generate over 60% of total U.S. electricity, while renewable energy sources like wind and solar contribute a mere 14%.
Raising concerns about the looming danger, FERC Commissioner James Danly recently testified at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, cautioning about an “impending, but avoidable, reliability crisis.”
Barrasso and Capito underscored Danly’s concerns and those expressed by other FERC commissioners during their letter. They also pinpointed comments from leaders at the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, the Regional Transmission Organization PJM, and Associated Electric Cooperative, all pointing towards a looming U.S. reliability crisis.
In conclusion, this call for immediate action by distinguished senate Republicans underlines the urgency of the situation. Our energy landscape is at a critical junction, facing dramatic changes due to governmental policies centered on transitioning to a clean-energy economy. As we move towards this future, it is essential to ensure that we are not jeopardizing the reliability of our electric grid or the energy security of our nation. An immediate, thorough, and unbiased examination by the FERC is an indispensable step towards safeguarding the integrity and dependability of American power supply systems in the face of such far-reaching transformations.