The Department of Energy (DOE)'s recent proposal that American consumers further subsidize certain power plants (essentially, coal and nuclear power plants) by paying them billions of dollars to stockpile 90 days worth of fuel onsite hinges on the idea that onsite fuel will somehow provide the electric grid with “resilience.” But the DOE never explained what “resilience” means, let alone how making coal piles bigger would help.
A process of developing and procuring resilience-related services should at least include these basic steps:
- Define “resilience” and why it is different from reliability (which consumers are already paying for);
- Establish the means to measure and compare the “resilience” of various elements of the grid in the generation, transmission, and distribution sectors;
- Prioritize which issues to address and consider alternatives;
- Develop services addressing those issues; and
- Allow all resources to compete in providing the services to minimize the costs for consumers.
These steps are common sense, but DOE’s proposal to FERC fails to even attempt any of them. To learn more, see this blog posted by Jennifer Chen, an attorney with the Sustainable FERC Project housed within NRDC: https://www.nrdc.org/experts/jennifer-chen/whats-resilience-doe-should-know-spending-your-mone
Also, the blog the NRDC posted that details their official comments on the DOE/FERC proposal can be found here: https://www.nrdc.org/experts/miles-farmer/does-coal-and-nuclear-bailout-proposal-should-be-rejected