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The Grid Needs a Symphony, Not a Shouting Match

RMI
12 June 2017

We Cannot Afford to Stifle Innovation by Enforcing Outdated Notions of “Baseload” Power

For more detail on the topics covered in this article, readers should see Amory Lovins’ FERC comments, a recent article on Forbes, and a forthcoming article in The Electricity Journal.

In April, U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced a 60-day study on electricity market design and grid reliability, meant to assess to what extent current market designs fail to adequately compensate “baseload” (i.e., coal- and nuclear-fired) power plants.

The memo commissioning the study presents as “fact” a curious claim: “baseload power is necessary to a well-functioning electric grid.” This notion has been thoroughly disproven by a diverse community of utilities, system operators, economists, and other experts that moved on from this topic years ago. To these practitioners, this premise seems as backward as if President Eisenhower, instead of launching the interstate highway system, had called for restudy of the virtues of horse-drawn carriages.  Read more here…

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