NERC Retirement Study Drawing Concerns

Source: RTO Insider

FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur and several stakeholders expressed concern Tuesday that “fuel war” partisans could weaponize NERC’s coming analysis on the impact of a dramatic increase in coal and nuclear plant retirements.

During a quarterly meeting of NERC’s Members Representative Committee (MRC), which reviewed a draft report from of the agencies “Generation Retirement Study”.

There is concern however the findings could be taken out of context for nefarious purposes.

The study was a “stress test” intended to push the system to its breaking point, not a projection of what is likely to happen. It found that retiring 30% of coal generation remaining after the 46 GW of announced retirements and 45% of nuclear after the shutdown of the 10 GW announced would result in seven of 10 regions falling below their reserve margins, including PJM, MISO and SPP.

FERC Commissioner LaFleur is quoted to saying the analysis is “scare tactic-ish.”

“The primary thing that makes generation retire is new generation … that’s what’s pushing this to happen,” she said.

“If there’s a specific issue, like frequency response or inverter issues or lack of black start or something else, let’s jump right on it, but I want to be sure that we don’t make an issue by the way we model it.”

The study is “so macro and worst-case it almost overwhelms the specific solutions.”

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