Statement From Electric Power Supply Association President and CEO Todd Snitchler on Winter Storm Elliott Power System Performance.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | September 22, 2023
CONTACT: Christina Nyquist | 603.930.8818 | firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Competitive power suppliers are committed to electric reliability and improving operations to keep the lights on during winter storms and other extreme weather events, said the head of the organization representing power generators providing about 150,000 MW of electric generation capacity throughout the U.S.
Todd Snitchler, President and CEO of the Electric Power Supply Association, issued the following statement after a September 21 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) meeting where findings and recommendations following 2022’s Winter Storm Elliott were presented jointly by FERC and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). EPSA member companies provide more than 50,000 MW of generation capacity in the PJM region across all resource types.
“As top providers of the natural gas generation resources needed to power the PJM region, EPSA and our member companies have heard and fully support Chairman Phillips’ call to action. We hold system reliability as our top priority and are committed to improving performance. We take seriously the findings from the FERC-NERC inquiry and look forward to the final report, which when released will provide necessary and helpful data as we address the events, lessons learned, and next steps to improve access to essential natural gas power generation resources during all weather conditions.
Natural gas-powered generation remains critical to a reliable power system and is one of the only technologies capable of producing dispatchable electricity on an as-needed basis at necessary amounts and duration. EPSA member companies invest heavily in preparing and hardening their infrastructure for extreme weather scenarios, but each will assess what more can be done and how facilities can be tested for readiness and performance.
EPSA has been heavily engaged in discussions with our member companies, the natural gas supply sector, and all relevant stakeholders to understand and address the challenges revealed by Winter Storm Elliott events, including improved planning and preparation by grid operators and market participants, market design reforms to secure reliable power generation resources, and increased coordination between the gas and electric sectors to ensure generators have access to fuel supply. Our colleagues in the natural gas production and delivery sectors are critical partners in ensuring reliability and as large customers of both, we expect that they will take all necessary steps to ensure the ever more intertwined industries are equally responsible and accountable for ensuring system reliability for customers.
Additional investment in weatherization and system hardening will be necessary, and market mechanisms and other avenues to support that investment are critical.
Current policies and regulations that accelerate the retirement of critical natural gas resources which face economic challenges due to existing market design flaws exacerbate the issues revealed by today’s report. The actions of policymakers, the Administration, and FERC must not undermine reliability.
Despite the challenges revealed, PJM’s competitive markets and participants did provide enough power to serve load and to export power to other regions. Competitive power markets and EPSA members operating in PJM can and did deliver sufficient reliable electricity to avoid load shed while vertically integrated regions experienced rolling blackouts. The point: no region or market model is immune from these issues.
Nor is any fuel type. Challenges were not limited to natural gas generators. Pointing fingers at specific fuel types as the root cause of reliability challenges is a distraction that wastes the opportunity to find real solutions for all regions of the country moving forward.
EPSA is committed to finding these solutions to secure reliable and cost-effective power in all regions and for all Americans and has provided early suggestions and recommendations to improve market design and enhance gas-electric coordination toward that end.”
The Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA) is the national trade association representing America’s competitive power suppliers. EPSA members provide about 150,000 MW of reliable and competitively priced electricity from environmentally responsible facilities using a diverse mix of fuels and technologies including natural gas, wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, storage, biomass, and coal. EPSA seeks to bring the benefits of competition to all power customers. Learn more at www.epsa.org and connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter @EPSAnews.