Republicans press FERC on grid resilience efforts

Source: By Jeremy Dillon, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, November 4, 2019

A group of 25 House Republicans want answers about where the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is in finalizing its grid resilience rulemaking.

In a letter to FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee, the lawmakers pressed the commission to provide an update on the resilience docket, including work completed, work pending and a timeline for final action on the issue.

“Fuel-secure sources of electricity are vital for grid resilience and reliability because they are less vulnerable to fuel supply disruptions,” the lawmakers said. “Yet, fuel-secure coal and nuclear plants are continuing to close at an alarming rate while the Commission waits to act.”

The group was led by coal-state members of Congress, including Reps. David McKinley of West Virginia and Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-highest-ranking member in Republican leadership.

FERC’s resilience docket has become a controversial rulemaking that has pitted coal and nuclear resources against natural gas and renewable energy advocates.

First kicked off by a notice of proposed rulemaking from Energy Secretary Rick Perry in 2017, the commission ultimately rejected the initial DOE proposal for a market tariff to benefit power sites that could guarantee a 90-day on-site fuel supply.

In its place, the commission has undertaken a fact-finding mission about how best to address the resilience issue. That process has included a broad comment request from grid operators and the industry at large.

Chatterjee said recently that the commission was nearing a consensus from those comments about how to define resilience. Once it comes to that conclusion, he has said, it will then look to see how that reflects in the grid.

“It could be, at the conclusion of our examination, we find that there is not a threat to what we define to be resilience,” Chatterjee told reporters at his EnVision Forum last month (Energywire, Oct. 22).