Press Release

RFF Researchers Review DOE Grid Study

Aug 28, 2017

WASHINGTON—In a new blog post out today, Resources for the Future (RFF) Senior Fellow Alan Krupnick, Center Fellow Daniel Shawhan, and Research Assistant Paul Picciano review the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) recent grid reliability study and take on the question: How Reliable Is DOE’s Grid Reliability Study?

The authors offer several important insights in their analysis. For example, they note that, “a few Trump administration concerns were fairly well laid to rest by the report. One is surely that coal generator retirements and reduced coal demand were primarily caused by environmental regulation—this is not the case. The [DOE] report is clear that low natural gas prices are the primary cause. Indeed, the report makes it clear that fuel diversity (to be understood in this context as the Trump administration’s desire for more coal in the electricity mix) does not equal reliability. Natural gas is better for filling in the supply trough when renewables generation falls off, for instance. In addition, note that most models predict that coal will have a significant role to play in generation into the foreseeable future, irrespective of other changes in demand, supply, and regulation.”

They conclude that—notwithstanding the omission of discussions about cybersecurity and environmental sustainability—“the DOE report is a helpful addition to the debate over how to improve the reliability and resilience of the US power grid as the industry continues to evolve.”

Read the full explanation behind their findings here: How Reliable Is DOE’s Grid Reliability Study?

See the full DOE study.

Resources for the Future does not take institutional positions. Please attribute any findings to the authors or the research itself. For example, use "According to research from RFF …" rather than "According to RFF …".

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Resources for the Future (RFF) is an independent, nonpartisan organization based in Washington, DC, that conducts rigorous economic research and analysis to improve environmental and natural resource policy.