Renewable energy group reacts to DOE’s planned study on effect on renewable energy policies on baseload generation

Published on April 24, 2017 by Daily Energy Insider Reports

Gregory Wetstone

American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) President and CEO Gregory Wetstone recently released a statement
saying he is “puzzled” that the Department of Energy (DOE) is planning a study on whether renewable energy policies accelerate the decline of other energy resources and undermine grid reliability.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry directed the agency to conduct the study in an April 14 memo on the degree to which
“continued regulatory burdens, as well as mandates and tax and subsidy policies, are responsible for forcing the premature retirement of baseload power plants.”

In his statement, Wetsone cited studies, including the 2016 long-term reliability assessment from the North American
Electric Reliability Corporation, that have reached conclusions that are at odds with the notion the DOE study would be
based on. Market forces, he said, are responsible for the decline of certain energy resources.

“The reality today is that renewable power offers the only realistic economic alternative to natural gas,” Wetstone said. “Together, renewables like wind and solar have combined with natural gas to produce virtually all of the nation’s major new electrical capacity since 2014. The fact is that low natural gas prices have made coal and nuclear less competitive economically.”

Wetstone also highlighted the role renewable energy plays in Texas where Perry served as governor.

“As the Governor of Texas who presided over a dramatic increase in renewable power, Secretary Perry has seen how well the grid can work with high levels of renewable generation that help grow the state’s economy,” Wetstone said. “If the concern is about reliability, the solution is to modernize the nation’s antiquated grid infrastructure, much as Secretary Perry did in overseeing billions of dollars of investment in Texas’ transmission system.”