NCEW Recap: Keeping the Lights on While Reducing Emissions

Power Sector Resiliency: Keeping the Lights on While Reducing Emissions

How can the United States keep the lights on while reducing global emissions and deploying utility-scale renewable energy resources? As part of the 2023 National Clean Energy Week Policymakers Symposium, Neil Chatterjee, Senior Advisor of Global Regulatory at Hogan Lovells, moderated a discussion between energy experts on power sector resiliency. Panelists included Yvonne McIntyre from PG&E, EPSA President and CEO Todd Snitchler, Large Public Power Council President John Di Stasio, and Dr. Shannon Bragg-Sitton of the Idaho National Laboratory.   

Grid resiliency is a major challenge facing the United States. Considering extreme weather-induced blackouts, creating a more reliable grid is top of mind for many, but building transmission lines and expanding critical infrastructure is being met with roadblocks.  

“Aspirational policy goals are important, and they are well-intended, but oftentimes they fail to acknowledge the realities of what is required to ensure reliable system operations,” Snitchler said. We must address permitting, siting, and legislative issues that have prevented infrastructure projects from moving forward before we can effectively solve the looming energy reliability crisis. The accelerated retirement of dispatchable, baseload resources – like natural gas – without commercially viable replacements will contribute to an increasingly unreliable grid.

McIntyre added there are challenges to building large-scale projects. California is looking at alternatives, like demand response, using battery storage projects, and using customer-sited renewable energy and battery storage to form Virtual Power plants. 

 As our daily lives are increasingly electrified, a reliable power supply has never been more critical. “There’s no silver bullet here, and we need to be very creative in our efforts to decarbonize,” John De Stasio said.   

He is exactly right, which is why we need an all-of-the-above approach. As Dr. Braggs-Sitton stated, “Instead of dialing back power from our renewable energy sources, let’s redirect it and create new opportunities that leverage clean energy for multiple demands.” 

Watch the full discussion here. To see other panels from National Clean Energy Week, like and subscribe on YouTube.    

CRES Forum is the lead convener and a proud sponsor of National Clean Energy Week. 

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