Legislation would tackle grid resiliency as effects of climate change worsen weather events, stressing America’s power system
Washington, DC – As leading Congressional voices in the fight to combat climate change and ensure a sustainable energy future for Americans, Reps. Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Sean Casten, (IL-06) and Mike Levin (CA-49) have introduced two bills to bolster electric power grid reliability to withstand increasing and intensifying extreme weather events.
The Grid Resilience Act (H.R. 8311) would require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to conduct a joint study on a reliability standard for thermoelectric power plants during droughts. This is in response to findings from the NERC 2022 Summer Reliability Assessment, which found that drought conditions and high heat create heightened reliability risks in the summer. Power plants that use rivers for once-through cooling are impacted by low river levels, causing a potential reduction in output which can contribute to energy shortfalls during peak demand.
Additionally, the Reinforcing the Grid Against Extreme Weather Act (H.R. 8303) would require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to establish minimum transfer capability requirements between transmission planning regions. This would provide significant reliability benefits as planning regions would be able to share power in the case of a power emergency. As extreme weather events increase and continue to pose a significant risk to the reliability of the electric grid, this legislation would ensure affordable and dependable energy for ratepayers across the country.
“Climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, causing additional strain on our electric grid,” said Congressman McNerney. “We know that unreliable power systems not only upend Americans’ daily lives but can turn into a life or death situation. These bills focus on forward-looking approaches to weatherproof our electric grid and reduce potential periods of power disruption.”
“With wildfires, flooding, and heat waves ravaging the country, we have an obligation to increase the reliability of our electric grid and protect Americans against these devastating events fueled by the climate crisis,” said Congressman Casten. “Aimed at providing FERC with the ability to deliver cleaner, cheaper, more reliable energy to families across the United States, these bills help unlock the vast supply of domestic US clean energy resources to fuel our transportation as well as power needs, free up energy for allies around the world to use and help rid them from dependence on Russia and other petrostates.”
“The climate crisis is already having severe effects on electric grids, with increasingly severe heat waves, wildfires, droughts, and other extreme weather events forcing power shutoffs,” said Congressman Levin. “Unreliable electric grids across the country threaten lives and livelihoods, which is why we must take immediate action. Our bills will ensure the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and other federal agencies take necessary steps to strengthen reliability and expand the availability of cheaper clean energy. I’m grateful for the partnership of Representatives McNerney and Casten on this important legislation, and I look forward to advancing it in the House.”
Rep. Jerry McNerney proudly serves the constituents of California’s 9th Congressional District that includes portions of San Joaquin, Contra Costa, and Sacramento Counties. For more information on Rep. McNerney’s work, follow him on Facebook and on Twitter @RepMcNerney