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Power Grid Not Ready For Renewable Energy Strain

electricity.jpgThe North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) released a report on the electric industry’s concerns on the reliability impacts of climate change initiatives.

The report identifies four key reliability issues associated with climate change initiatives that NERC says need to be addressed as policies progress:

1. Broad-scale fuel switching from coal to natural gas
The switch over a short timeline could result in the loss of electricity generation needed to support the grid and impact reliability across the continent. Relocating and replacing coal-fired plants with natural gas-fired plants would also require upgrades to existing transmission infrastructure.

2. Transmission infrastructure and planning mechanisms
Current transmission infrastructure are inadequate, therefore new planning and operational mechanisms will be needed to to reliably deliver power from new renewable resources to demand centers.

3. Demand-side resources
Managing growing demand will be critical to meeting both climate and reliability goals.

4. National climate change policy in the U.S
A decision on national climate change policy is needed in the U.S. to provide regulatory certainty and support for industry action.

The Associated Press reported that utilities executives are warning of skyrocketing electricity prices if the country is forced to cap GHG emissions and new technology to capture carbon emissions from coal does not pay off.

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