The United States Department of Energy (DOE) released its long-awaited Staff Report to the Secretary on Electricity Markets and Reliability yesterday,which includes an assessment of the reliability and resilience of the electric grid and an overview of the evolution of electricity markets. The study shows recent growth in wind and solar power is generating new jobs and is not threatening reliability.
The study contains a comprehensive analysis and series of recommendations from the Department of Energy staff and, the DOE explains, is meant to “inform and guide policy makers, regulators, and the general public in future conversations about the challenges America faces”.
Commenting on the report´s finding, Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), said: “DOE’s comprehensive report provides a number of valuable policy recommendations. In particular, DOE’s recommendations to value essential reliability services, which wind provides; to minimize regulatory barriers to energy production; and to accelerate infrastructure and transmission development are prudent and will help continue America’s wind power success story”.
Renewable energy is creating jobs and lowering electricity prices
Steve Clemmer, research director at the Union of Concerned Scientists, meanwhile, reacted to the report saying that “the market-driven reality is that cheap natural gas, wind, and solar are outcompeting aging, expensive coal plants. Renewable energy is creating American jobs and lowering electricity prices for consumers… In fact, wind and solar industry jobs now far outweigh all coal industry jobs nationally and in at least 40 states”.
Clemmer went on to say “The study cites overwhelming evidence from real-world experience, as well as multiple scientific studies by the department’s own national labs and regional grid operators, confirming that the US can safely and reliably operate the electric grid with high levels of renewables”.
A number of studies forecast that renewables will be able to provide 80 percent of the nation’s electricity mix by 2050, while maintaining reliability. The AWEA estimates that the US wind industry is expected to support 147,000 jobs by 2020, including 33,000 jobs at over 500 US factories.