Chairs Rodgers, Duncan, and Johnson Warn FERC about Grid Security Ahead of Commission’s Reliability Conference
Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee Chair Jeff Duncan (R-SC), and Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee Chair Bill Johnson (R-OH) sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chair and Commissioners regarding the risks posed to the country’s electric grid by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan 2.0 proposal and other power plant regulatory actions.
This letter—which was sent on behalf of both the Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee and the Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee Republicans—comes ahead of FERC’s 2023 Annual Reliability Technical Conference on Thursday, November 9, 2023. A significant focus of this conference will be on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan 2.0 proposal that could have a severe negative effect on electric reliability in the U.S.
"The voices expressing concern to the Committee about the reliability of the nation’s electric grid continue to grow in number and in volume, from States to grid operators to utilities. Many of those concerns stem from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) suite of regulations on the power sector, self-branded the 'EGU Strategy' by the EPA […] If we continue to retire and force the closure of dispatchable electric generation – like coal, natural gas, and nuclear – and fail to replace it with comparable dispatchable generation, the instability and precariousness of the U.S. electric grid will increase.
"Given the looming threats to reliability from EPA regulations, the importance of this year’s Annual Reliability Technical Conference cannot be overstated. A major focus of this technical conference is proposed regulations that have a severe negative effect on electric reliability. It is appropriate and necessary that Federal Energy Regulatory Commission step up and evaluate the impact of EPA proposals."
- Under the Clean Power Plan 2.0, the EPA has introduced policy proposals to set strict, costly, and untested standards on both new and existing natural gas and remaining coal generators.
- These changes will have a chilling effect on American natural gas and coal—which account for about 60 percent of U.S. electricity generation—making life unaffordable for Americans and increasing risks for blackouts.
- Energy and Commerce Committee members heard from seven Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators (RTOs/ISOs) at a hearing in September, who overwhelmingly agreed that these proposed regulations from the EPA threaten to force retirement of a substantial share of their power generation sources.
- Further, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), who will be participating in the reliability conference, has also noted in recent studies that large swaths of the U.S. are under threat of blackout risks in the coming months and years.
- The letter reinforces a growing number of concerns expressed to the committee that the EPA failed to perform adequate and thorough analysis of the impacts of its policy proposals on electric reliability and strongly encourages FERC to take action to ensure these misguided policies do not further undermine reliability.
The Chairs asked the FERC Chair and Commissioners to respond to the following questions:
- In light of the importance of FERC’s upcoming technical conference on reliability, including the Clean Power Plan 2.0 proposal, and the information the Commission will gather at the conference, will FERC commit to requesting that the EPA open up a supplemental comment period for the proposed Clean Power Plan 2.0?
- Given the electric grid reliability obligations of FERC and NERC, will FERC ensure that the information from its upcoming technical conference be added to the docket in the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan 2.0?
- FERC’s November 9, 2023, technical conference does not include comparable and sufficient time allotments for all stakeholders, including States, Public Utility Commissions, and utilities. Will FERC commit to hosting an additional technical conference on the Clean Power Plan 2.0 proposal, providing more time for the Commissioners to hear from the various stakeholders?
- Will FERC commit to having a technical conference(s) on the other rules (proposed and final) or actions in the EPA’s EGU Strategy, in order to examine their impacts on our electric grid?
- Please describe any communications you have had with the EPA on the Clean Power Plan 2.0 proposal, as well as any of the proposed or final rules or actions in the EPA’s EGU Strategy.
CLICK HERE to read the full letter.