Wind and solar power does not make the U.S. electricity grid less stable, an outgoing federal regulator said on Tuesday, as the Trump administration readies a study that will examine whether renewable energy has had a harmful effect.
Colette Honorable, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said at a conference that renewables have different attributes than base load power, which includes coal and nuclear energy, and that those differences need to be overcome.
But Honorable stressed that record amounts of wind and solar power had been generated recently without harming the grid.
“Do I recognize we have to be attendant to supporting the different ways in which renewables work? Yes,” said Honorable, who was appointed by former president Barack Obama, a Democrat, and who will step down on Friday.
“I don’t see any problems with reliability, and I say bring on more renewables,” said Honorable, whose remarks generated warm applause at a conference of the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration arm.
President Donald Trump, a Republican, has embarked on a program to dismantle Obama’s clean-energy policies as renewable power generation hits records.
In February, wind briefly powered more than 50% of electricity demand in the 14-state Southwest Power Pool, for the first time on any North American grid.
And in March, wind and solar accounted for more than 10% of U.S. electricity generation for the first time.
The Energy Department is expected to release the grid study in July. It will take a critical look at the role that renewable energy policies have played in the closure of coal and nuclear electricity plants and see if the loss of those facilities has reduced the grid’s stability.
“These politically driven policies, driven primarily by a hostility to coal, threaten the reliability and stability of the greatest electrical grid in the world,” Perry said.
Perry said the Trump administration was working to find an energy mix that is clean and affordable while ensuring the grid is reliable.
This article was originally posted to Reuters