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United States

DOE reaffirms use of 'most effective combination of energy sources'

UNITED STATES: The widely anticipated Department of Energy (DOE) report on the state of the US energy market has backed all forms of generation, including renewables and coal.

All forms of generation can be used to support US grid reliability, the DOE report said
All forms of generation can be used to support US grid reliability, the DOE report said

The report, announced in April by energy secretary Rick Perry, was widely expected to favour coal and nuclear, in line with the noise coming from the White House.

But the 187-page report — while omitting the term "climate change" but noting "recent severe weather events" — appears to continue calls for a varied energy mix touted by the previous administration.

A major conclusion of the report, put together by staff at the DOE, was the need to reduce the cost and red tape required for the licensing and permitting of grid infrastructure for "nuclear, hydro, coal, advanced generation technologies and transmission".

It added: "[The] DOE should review regulatory burdens for siting and permitting for generation and gas and electricity transmission infrastructure and should take actions to accelerate the process and reduce costs."

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) backed the calls, as less red tape would also benefit the wind industry.

"By making it easier to build new wind farms and transmission, we can keep increasing grid reliability while saving money for families and businesses," AWEA senior director of research Michael Goggin said in a note reacting to the report.

AWEA has also backed the DOE recommendation for "creating fuel-neutral markets" in essential reliability services (ERS), which AWEA said wind projects can make "critical contributions" to.

"The fact that no single energy source excels at all services shows the value of a diverse power grid.

"It also highlights the importance of markets for essential reliability services. Markets sort out which resources provide which services cost-effectively at any point in time.

"Wind plants will not always be the most economic option for most services; neither will coal, gas or nuclear plants. That's fine, and, in fact, that's the beauty of markets. Markets cost-effectively meet reliability needs through division of labour," Goggin wrote.

AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan added: "We agree with [the] DOE that it makes sense to determine how a portfolio of domestic energy resources can ensure grid reliability and resilience.

"Wind energy contributes to the grid services that incumbent baseload also provides, and will continue to be a growing part of a reliable, resilient US electric grid," he said.

In a cover letter to the report, secretary Perry wrote: "We must utilise the most effective combination of energy sources with an "all of the above" approach to achieve long-term, reliable American energy security."

A'draft of the report was leaked in June. According to that report, the DOE found the US grid was not at risk from variable generation, such as wind or solar adding that it was "in good shape".

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