Power rule won’t harm grid reliability — McCarthy 

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, April 24, 2015

U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told energy executives in Houston today that the Clean Power Plan wouldn’t harm grid reliability.

Delivering a keynote address at IHS CERAWeek, McCarthy told executives from industries that would be regulated under the power plant rule that EPA has taken care not to disrupt their ability to deliver electricity to the public.

“Let me be clear: There is no scenario I will accept where reliability comes into question. Period,” she said in prepared remarks.

EPA is reviewing its proposed rule now ahead of issuing a final standard this summer, and McCarthy said again that issues like the stringency of state targets, the rate at which reduction requirements phase in and the “glide path” showing early progress are all on the table.

“And we can look at unit-by-unit reliability directly, too,” she said.

The final rule, McCarthy said, “will give you the time and space you need to take a reliability-first approach that’s in line with your long-term planning and gives you the latitude to adapt as market demands change.”

McCarthy’s remarks come after the North American Electric Reliability Corp. issued an assessment Tuesday that determined that the Clean Power Plan presents grid reliability concerns that warrant a delay in implementation (Greenwire, April 21).

The assessment has already gained traction as a Republican talking point, with lawmakers charging that it should lead EPA to abandon the rule. But the agency called the assessment “premature,” as it has yet to finalize the standard and states have yet to say how they will comply with it.

McCarthy told energy executives they shouldn’t see the rule as “a liability or cost.” The agency built its standard to track with investment decisions that utilities are already making in transitioning to lower carbon technologies, she said.

“EPA’s rule does not seek to swim against the current,” she said. “It’s wind in our sails.”

And strategies to bring down emissions — especially through efficiency improvements — can “double as investments that return value for your operations as they evolve over time,” she said.