The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission plans to address grid resilience issues, its chairman told state utility commissioners who are urging action to ensure reliability amid the retirements of coal and nuclear plants.
"Please be assured that FERC remains vigilant to reliability and resilience concerns and is committed to actively addressing these issues with industry and other relevant stakeholders," FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee said in a Sept. 19 letter to South Carolina Public Service Commissioner John "Butch" Howard.
"The Commission continues to work with all stakeholders to ensure that well-developed market rules and reliability standards are in place."
Utility regulators in several states heavy with coal or nuclear generation wrote FERC in recent weeks, asking the commission to act quickly on its 2018 order to examine the resiliency of the nation's electric grid.
Commissioners in Alabama, Kentucky, Montana, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming raised concerns about the loss of thousands of megawatts of coal and nuclear capacity without further action from FERC.
The state regulators told FERC that, to date, 40% (126,000 megawatts) of coal capacity nationwide has retired or plans to do so soon. That includes more than 10,000 MW slated to go offline this year and next. Plus, 20% of the country's nuclear units have retired or plan to by 2030, removing another 17,000 MW from the grid, they said.
FERC issued the order Jan. 8, 2018, after rejecting a pricing rule from Energy Secretary Rick Perry that would have incentivized certain coal and nuclear. NRECA supported the commission's effort to further explore grid resiliency.