Statement from NMA’s Rich Nolan on Today’s Senate Hearing on Grid Reliability

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rich Nolan, President & CEO of the National Mining Association (NMA), released the following statement on today’s hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee concerning grid reliability:

“It was impossible to listen to the testimony this morning, including from the nation’s top reliability regulator and from the CEO of our largest grid operator, and not conclude that we’re pushing aside existing, dispatchable generation – namely the nation’s coal capacity – far too quickly. We are already in a grid reliability crisis and the EPA’s regulatory onslaught is making an extraordinarily challenging situation all but unmanageable. As we have heard from one expert after another, the right path forward is to add new resources on the shoulders of our existing capacity – our reliability backstop – not push it aside before we have new, reliable and affordable capacity and infrastructure deployed and operational.

An immediate first step Congress should consider is mandating interagency coordination on reliability. The EPA must work with reliability regulators to evaluate the reliability impact of its rules before proposing them, not after the fact. Senator John Barrasso’s (R-Wyo.) bill, the Spur Permitting of Underdeveloped Resources (SPUR) Act, includes language that can help us achieve this. We strongly encourage its consideration.”

During the hearing, North American Electric Reliability Corporation president and CEO, James Robb, testified that, “the pace of change is overtaking the reliability needs of the system.” He added, “We must manage the pace of the transformation in an orderly way, which is currently not happening. Conventional generation is retiring at an unprecedented rate.”

PJM Interconnection president and CEO Manu Asthana testified that, “we need to slow down the retirement or restriction of existing generation until replacement capacity is deployed and operational… frankly, we see this as the single largest risk in the energy transition.”

David Tudor, CEO of Associated Electric Cooperative Inc., testified that, “The accelerated pace of retirements of on-demand, dispatchable coal generation in particular will put reliability in serious jeopardy.” He added, “We need more time. We need to get control of the EPA who doesn’t seem to care about reliability or cost.”

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