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Energy Department Assistant Secretary Patricia Hoffman Addresses 2011 FERC Reliability Technical Conference

November 30, 2011 - 1:50pm

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability Patricia Hoffman today addressed the 2011 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission technical conference in Washington, D.C.  In remarks prepared for delivery, Assistant Secretary Hoffman discussed recent evaluations of proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules and the impact those rules could be expected to have on our nation’s electrical grid.  Hoffman noted an emerging consensus that the new rules are not expected to create widespread resource adequacy issues. In addition, whatever local reliability challenges that could arise should be manageable with timely cooperation and coordination among all the stakeholders, including utilities, regulators,

Assistant Secretary Hoffman’s full remarks as prepared for delivery are available at Energy.gov website. The following are excerpts from her prepared remarks:

“Thank you for the opportunity to join you today.  Everyone in this room shares a commitment to ensuring the reliability of our nation’s electric grid.  Together, we are committed to ensuring the safe and secure delivery of electricity to consumers. And, together, we share a commitment to doing this in a way that is economically viable, affordable, protects public health, and is environmentally sound…”

“The Department of Energy is committed to working with the EPA and other stakeholders to successfully implement these environmental regulations and maintain grid reliability.  A number of analyses have been conducted by industry groups and others, with a goal of predicting what impact the EPA regulations could have on overall resource adequacy of America’s electricity supply and the US economy…Generally speaking, the new EPA rules will not create widespread resource adequacy issues. 

“To confirm this, the Department has developed and modeled a conservative “stress test” scenario for 2015 that is deliberately more stringent than the new EPA rules.  While that review will be available soon, it confirms what many have said.  Assuming prompt and responsible action by regulators and generators, the timeliness associated with the construction of new generation capacity and installation of pollution control retrofits would generally be comparable to EPA’s regulatory compliance timelines.” 

“With respect to local reliability issues, the Department believes that -- where localized issues could arise -- mechanisms already exist to address those concerns on a plant-specific or more local basis.  And, the Department of Energy is willing to provide technical assistance throughout this process if needed…”

“This is a critical point, and it is worth repeating:  The new rules are not expected to create widespread resource adequacy issues, and whatever local reliability challenges that could arise should be manageable with timely cooperation and coordination among all the stakeholders, including utilities, regulators, BAs, RCs, ISOs, and RTOs.” 

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