Bomb Cyclone and NOPR Redux: What the Grid Really Needs

Grid nerds have spent the last few months whipped up into a frenzy over Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s hastily written plan to prop up aging coal plants in the name of grid resiliency.

Then, last week, federal energy regulators rejected it. Secretary Perry’s team couldn’t come up with the basic legal argument needed for FERC to consider the proposal.

The door is not fully closed, however. Regulators say they want to revisit the idea of grid resiliency — and now they’re asking regional grid operators to report back on their actual needs.

So, it’s worth stepping back and asking the same question. What does the grid actually need? In an age when renewables — and already, in some cases, batteries — are the lowest-cost resources, how should we really be planning?

This podcast is brought to you by Fiveworx, a turnkey customer engagement platform for utilities. Find out more about how Fiveworx can help your customer engagement program succeed — and get you beyond the meter.

This week, we’re joined by two grid experts who’ve been asking this question for years: Sonia Aggarwal and Robbie Orvis of the analysis firm Energy Innovation.

Sonia is the vice president of Energy Innovation. She heads up the firm’s work on power-sector transformation and energy policy. And she also launched America’s Power Plan, a collection of insights about the rapid change underway in the electric sector. 

Robbie is the policy design projects manager at Energy Innovation, where he works on power-sector transformation issues. He’s a contributor to America’s Power Plan.

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