Climate change and cyber threats are increasingly putting the reliability and resilience of our power system at risk. As the nation brings new clean energy capacity online, we can ensure the grid delivers affordable, reliable electricity to all Americans with a range of tools and technologies.
Clean Energy Is Affordable
Clean electricity generation and battery storage costs have plummeted, enabling an electricity grid that is increasingly powered by the sun and wind. That shift to a low-emissions power system is the cornerstone of economy-wide decarbonization, helping to improve public health outcomes and support the jobs of the future.
What’s more, with recent cost reductions, such a future is more affordable than ever before and can be achieved while maintaining or enhancing grid reliability. Already, utilities are finding it cost-effective to retire some existing power plants and replace them with a portfolio of resources including wind, solar, and battery storage technologies—without undermining reliability.
Clean Energy Is Reliable
Power-system simulations also demonstrate that much higher levels of clean power supply are possible and can be managed reliably. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its National Laboratories have researched this for over a decade, finding that with careful planning and operations, a wide range of power systems can take on large amounts of clean electricity while maintaining reliability.
Based on extensive research, the toolkit or “key” for maintaining reliability includes expanding and upgrading transmission to make sure we get clean energy to where it’s needed. In addition to including technologies like energy storage, with both short and long duration to increase flexibility to meet changing demand.
That is why it is important that electricity customers and utilities proactively implement new technologies and controls to prepare for the changing energy mix and energy needs.
That also means deploying ‘on demand,’ 24/7 sources of clean power supply—which is why DOE continues to invest additional zero-carbon technologies, including carbon capture and storage (CCS), advanced nuclear, hydrogen, and geothermal focused on bringing down costs, increasing efficiency and enhancing production methods so these technologies can provide the necessary reliability and scale the grid needs to meet demand while reducing emissions.
Now Is the Time to Invest in Clean Energy
Many power systems around the world are already managing high shares of clean electricity, with no sacrifice for reliability. Even in the United States, wind and solar contribute 25% or more to annual electricity load in large regions of the country like Texas, California, and Iowa. On an hourly basis, these same regions regularly experience 60% or more wind and solar generation. And, just this past March, the Southwest Power Pool reached a record 81% wind generation by relying on its transmission network to get reliable power to high demand centers.
Now is the time to accelerate the clean energy future. Policies like the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP) will grow our clean energy supply, tackle climate change, and keep our electricity affordable and reliable. Such investments made today can yield long term benefits—delivering affordable, reliable electricity to all Americans while growing our economy and fostering healthy communities.