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Top Republicans raise alarm on Biden's power plant regs: 'Growing risks to electric reliability'

FIRST ON FOX: High-ranking Senate Republicans are calling for the nation’s top energy regulator to immediately assess the impact President Biden’s crackdown on fossil fuel power plants will have on electric grid reliability.

The two Republicans — Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Environment and Public Works Committee Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. — penned a letter Wednesday to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) four members. They expressed concern that Biden’s power plant regulations would exacerbate grid reliability issues.

“The already-strong pressure for premature retirements of electric generating units coupled with the rising risks to electric reliability require you to convene representatives of entities subject to your jurisdiction and other interested parties in order to develop a record on the potential impact of the Clean Power Plan 2.0,” Barrasso and Capito wrote.

“Without such a record, FERC’s consultations with EPA are likely to be ineffective,” they continued. “EPA clearly lacks the expertise to project accurately the impact of its rulemaking on electric reliability without deeply informed and engaged participation from FERC and those subject to its jurisdiction that are charged with the obligation to generate and deliver electricity in order to meet continuous demand for electric service.”


However, industry groups and experts warned that the proposal, which remains in a public comment period until early August, could lead to early retirements of reliable, dispatchable generation and, as a result, power supply shortfalls. Fossil fuels generate more than 60% of total U.S. electricity while renewable energy sources like wind and solar generate 14%, federal data shows.

Joe Biden, Michael Regan

President Joe Biden and EPA Administrator Michael Regan at the White House earlier this year. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“As the wholesale markets’ prices are distorted by subsidies, the generation assets with the attributes required for system stability will retire and system stability will be imperiled,” FERC Commissioner James Danly recently testified during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing. “Given these market failures, there will be, in time, a catastrophic reliability event.”

And they also referenced comments from a separate hearing made by leaders at the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, the Regional Transmission Organization PJM, and Associated Electric Cooperative, one of the largest U.S. electric cooperatives. Each of the leaders agreed the U.S. is heading for a reliability crisis.

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