Grid Resiliency is a Problem, But Stockpiling Coal isn’t the Answer

According to Mark Dyson, an expert who studies grid resilience as part of the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Electricity Innovation Lab, the U.S. does face a problem with grid resiliency. Look no further than the mainstream news headlines about Puerto Rico’s lack of electricity to see the problem in living color.

However, the U.S. Department of Energy’s recently proposed rulemaking, which directs FERC to “properly value” coal and nuclear power plants for their ability to be “resilient” by having a 90-day pile of fuel onsite, totally misunderstands the problem. Check out Dyson’s comments about how to address the real problem of grid resiliency below.

So how do you, as Dyson says, take the fuel out of the equation? That’s where onsite renewable energy such as solar PV and energy storage come into play. In fact, it is these distributed energy resources (DER) that are best suited to deliver a resilient 21st century grid.

Lead image: Electric power lines. Credit: Pixabay.

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Jennifer Runyon
Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. You can reach her at Today, in addition to managing content on Renewable Energy World and POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference and expo for the transmission and distribution industry. In her role, she works in close cooperation with a large team of committed industry executives to shape the educational content for the event. She also helps assemble the renewable energy content for POWERGEN and helped launch the first Grid-Scale Storage Summit, a co-located event at HYDROVISION International. She has traveled to Germany to see onshore and offshore wind installations; Iceland to see geothermal energy in action; and France to see cutting-edge smart grids. In the U.S. she has visited and reported about bioenergy power plants in Florida, both large-scale and small-scale hydropower; and multiple wind farms, solar PV, and CSP installations. Formerly, she was the managing editor of Innovate Forum, an online publication that focused on innovation in manufacturing. Prior to that she was the managing editor at Desktop Engineering magazine. In 2008, she won an "Eddy Award" for her editing work on an article about solar trees in Vienna. In 2010, was awarded an American Business Media Neal Award for its eNewsletters, which were created under her direction. She holds a Master's Degree in English Education from Boston University and a BA in English from the University of Virginia.

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