Department of Energy

The Grid on Capitol Hill: DOE, GMLC, and Stakeholders Talk Resiliency and Reliability

October 31, 2017

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Over the last two months, the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology has held several hearings on grid resiliency and reliability topics. DOE and GMLC stakeholders have participated across these hearings, including testimony from Secretary Rick Perry and Pat Hoffman, Acting Under Secretary for Science from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Carl Imhoff, Chair, Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium and Manager, Electricity Market Sector, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

In mid-October, Secretary Perry testified before the Committee on Energy and Commerce on DOE missions and management priorities. Secretary Perry testified that America's energy dominance depends on a reliable, resilient electric grid powered by a diverse mix of generation resources that help mitigate disruptions and enable rapid response when disruptions occur. He also discussed his recent proposal to FERC for pricing reform in the Commission-approved organized markets (see story below). You can find Secretary Perry's full statement, opening statements from Committee members, and a video of the hearing here.

The Energy and Commerce Committee held a two-part hearing "Powering America: Defining Reliability in a Transforming Electricity Industry." In part one one of the hearing, Hoffman, Neil Chatterjee (chairman of Federal Energy Regulation Commission), and Gerry Cauley (President and CEO of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation) touched on the importance of adjusting the current state of the grid to match the evolving energy landscape of the country, with each witness touching on the importance of their agency in moving the grid towards a more resilient and reliable future. You can find witness statements from all participants, opening statements from Committee members, and a video of the hearing here. Part two of the hearing heard from industry stakeholders, including witnesses from the National Hydropower Association, Energy Storage Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, Solar Energy Industries Association, Nuclear Energy Institute, American Wind Energy Association, American Petroleum Institute, and American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. In this hearing, witnesses touched on the importance of their respective industry's role in improving the grid's resiliency and reliability, while also discussing their positions on the new FERC proposal. Questions from representatives ranged across topics such as the relevancy of baseload power in light of changing generation mix, fuel flexibility and availability during extreme events, transmission investment, and national security. You can find witness statements, opening statements from Committee members, and a video of the hearing here.

The house Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing "Resiliency: The Electric Grid's Only Hope" where Imhoff testified alongside the experts from the University of Illinois, the Houston Advanced Research Center, and the Texas Public Power Association. In his testimony, Imhoff discussed the opportunities and challenges for grid modernization, including DOE and the National Lab efforts for a modern and resilient grid. Representatives asked experts about the importance of cybersecurity, protection from outages (from attacks, EMP, or other natural causes), and actions or policies that can improve overall grid resiliency. You can find witness statements, opening statements from Committee members, and a video of the hearing here.