What Rick Perry’s Grid Reliability Study Means for New England

Bethany Kwoka

In April, Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry ordered a study on the reliability of our electric grid. This should be good news. The infrastructure of transmission lines, substations, and local delivery wires that make up the electricity grid is old and needs to be updated. But it was clear from the language of the order that Perry wanted the report to deliver some very specific results.

Perry and his boss, President Trump, both support dirty coal — and the businessmen who profit from it — as well as other outdated energy sources like natural gas and oil. With this study, Perry is trying to back up his claims that renewables like solar and wind are threatening our electric grid’s reliability.

But in July, a draft of the report was leaked. Instead of supporting Perry’s claims, it did the opposite — the draft found that our power system is more reliable today than ever before, and that both coal and nuclear plants are on their way out (regardless of the effects of renewables). The draft also showed that energy efficiency measures are saving families and businesses lots of money. In fact, by 2030, they will have saved us more than $545 billion in utility costs.

So while the final report isn’t out yet, the findings so far — without a Trump Agency Spin — support renewable energy and a final end to coal and other polluting energy sources.

What Does This Mean for Everyday New Englanders?

This study was intended as a way for Perry to show that his friends in the coal industry are still relevant. Instead, the leaked draft indicates that Americans are better off spending money on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and a modernized grid.

This isn’t really news for New Englanders. Our dirty coal plants have been on the way out for years, and our nation-leading wind and solar projects are already generating clean renewable energy. For us, this report confirms the need to continue what we’ve been doing: supporting local solar and wind power, investing in energy efficiency solutions, pushing our utilities to modernize their grids – all while continuing to say no to polluting natural gas power plants. Here in New England, we are already proving that we can cut our toxic greenhouse gas emissions and save money while keeping our grid reliable and secure at the same time.

What does this mean for you? Tell your representatives to support modern, innovative energy solutions. These include positive net metering legislation that lets solar panel owners get money back for energy they provide to the grid. These include grid modernization plans that will help utilities save families and businesses money by installing smart meters and changing profit incentives. And these include forging ahead with energy efficiency initiatives that bolster our energy independence.

While Perry might try to spin this study to support his rich fossil fuel buddies, CLF and our partners will continue to fight for clean, local, and innovative solutions to protect New England families and businesses.

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