New video from America’s Power exposes the high risks of rapid grid transition
December 1, 2021
The U.S. depends on a reliable and resilient electricity grid to fuel our economy and keep the lights on 24/7/365. A new video from America’s Power, “Decarbonizing the Grid by 2035? – Maintaining Grid Reliability” explains how a hurried transition away from traditional generation would endanger grid reliability. America’s Power supports an all-the-above energy strategy because all our electricity resources – coal, gas, nuclear, renewables, and storage – complement each other in different ways to provide reliable and affordable electricity. However, some policymakers want to eliminate this diversity with policies that would shut down dispatchable generation such as coal and natural gas by 2035.
A more gradual transition of the electricity grid would reduce carbon from the power sector without sacrificing reliability or affordability. It would also provide the essential time needed to develop and deploy innovative enabling technologies, especially carbon capture and storage.
Coal-fueled electricity is readily available around the clock and has been recognized by policymakers as the “most resilient form” of electric power generation. Coal also serves as an indispensable alternative when other electricity sources are offline or prohibitively expensive, as seen during last winter’s Texas ice storms.
In 2020, 60% of the power generation in the U.S. came from fossil fuels. A complete shift away from conventional energy sources such as coal within the next 15 years would significantly reduce the options available to the grid operators and utilities responsible for keeping the lights on.
To better understand how decarbonizing the grid by 2035 would adversely impact the national grid and energy consumers, we spoke with policy experts, including Wisconsin Public Service Commissioner Ellen Nowak, Montana Public Service Commissioner Tony O’Donnell, and Executive Director of the Kentucky Industrial Utility Customers Carl Kurz. In a video posted this summer, they shared their thoughts, stressing the critical importance of maintaining a diverse generation mix that includes coal and pointing out the many obstacles that would accompany a transition that goes too far, too fast.
Building upon that first video, America’s Power thought it would be beneficial to listen to our experts explain how an energy transition that shifts away from electricity sources too quickly could jeopardize the reliability of the grid. Click here to see our new video on reliability.