Grid reliability, technology highlight Consumer Energy Alliance forum

Published on November 30, 2017 by Aaron Martin

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A forum hosted by the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) on Tuesday focused on the importance of an all-of-the-above energy strategy, threats to the power infrastructure, and the electrical grid’s future.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Commissioner Neil Chatterjee, Department of Energy Undersecretary Mark Menezes, U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) and representatives from across the energy sector took part in the forum.

“It is important to bring these thought leaders together to discuss how the future of our country’s electricity,” Michael Whatley, executive vice president of the CEA, said. “The conversation on grid reliability, resiliency and security are critical because we need states, utilities and the federal government looking at long-term solutions to the cybersecurity threats and physical challenges that are facing the grid today.”

Chatterjee highlighted the importance of FERC to conduct analyses that are technical — not political.

“I think the questions that (Energy Secretary Rick Perry) has raised about grid resiliency and security are meritorious questions – and questions that have been out there for some time,” Chatterjee said. “It’s important to fully understand, as we contemplate our energy future, what these changes in our marketplace and our fuel mix mean. These are the kinds of difficult questions we’re up against because they are not clean, and they necessitate bold leadership. This is what we’re up against.”

The forum explored challenges facing the energy sector, including understanding the role of natural gas in reducing emissions, closing the gap left by shuttered sources of energy generation and transitioning to distributed fuel sources.

“Despite our energy successes, we face challenges and risks to our country’s reliability and resiliency,” Menezes said. “That’s why it is important to look at how new technology and market demands have come together to lay the foundation for new research that has led to a more advanced generation of innovative energy technologies for Americans and our allies abroad. We accept production and transmission as the way it is, but technology is changing what we know every day. That’s because energy as a whole in this country is so broad, it truly is an all of the above landscape.”

Dena Wiggins, the president and CEO of Natural Gas Supply Association, said advancement in technology have led “incredible access” to natural gas across the country.

“This unprecedented access to these American resources not only helps to support our growing and diversified fuel mix, it also helps meet the growing energy demand and environmental goals set by our communities,” Wiggins said. “Our suppliers are ready to meet that demand, but to access this low-cost, reliable fuel we need to create the proper infrastructure to support its safe delivery, which is why we’re happy that FERC is finally at quorum to hopefully unlock some of the logjams that have been created over the last year, and gets this much-needed fuel to consumers across the U.S.”