Renewable energy groups share vision of 21st century power grid

By Anna Simet | June 22, 2017

In the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump declaring plans to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, nixing the clean power plan, making cuts to federal clean energy programs and rolling back federal coal mining regulations, leaders of a variety of renewable energy organizations have banded together to further the growth of the renewable industry as a whole, via a shared vision for the national power grid.

In their first-ever joint statements, the organizations underscore the hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs the renewable technology industry supports, and declare a shared, affirmative agenda for the nation’s power grid, “which is changing as new and existing technologies provide more choices for consumers and society.”

“To facilitate the ongoing transition to a new power supply paradigm, we jointly call for a sustained, positive effort to build a 21st century grid infrastructure that takes full advantage of technology available today to increase the efficiency and reliability of the grid,” the declaration continues. “Those technologies include demand response, energy storage, and the broad portfolio of grid-scale and distributed renewable generation technologies available today. These renewable technologies include hydro, biomass, geothermal, biogas, waste-to-energy, fuel cells, and combined heat and power as well as wind and solar power.”

The groups provide three support points in the vision, which include:

 - Market structures that appropriately value new and existing technologies for the attributes they bring to the grid, including energy, capacity, flexibility, dispatchability, and other essential reliability services.

 - Tax reform that protects the current incentives for renewable energy, includes extension of the renewable tax credits that have already expired, and levels the long-term playing field to support investment in the electric power infrastructure.

 - Expansion and modernization of the power grid to support the operation and integration of renewables and a more dynamic system of meeting reliability needs, including expanded transmission and greater connectivity between balancing areas, distributed generation, more responsive load, and community power systems.

Groups signing the statement include the Biomass Power Association, American Council on Renewable Energy, American Biogas Council, Energy Recovery Council, American Wind Energy Association, Geothermal Energy Association, National Hydropower Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association.