Indeed, DOE’s staff report largely confirms what industry experts have been saying all along: Competition from cheap natural gas, not renewable policies, is forcing uneconomic resources to retire, and the trend toward these new resources – both gas and renewables – is being managed by grid operators across the country without loss of reliability. To quote the report directly: “Energy and capacity markets presently provide for adequate levels of reliability.”
Nonetheless, the report managed to find ways to suggest that uncompetitive power plants are in economic trouble because they are undercompensated in the market – and since they are supposedly so essential to the electric power system, a way must be found to put them in the money. If such a way is found, it must logically come at the expense of those resources that are now winning in the marketplace – natural gas, solar, and wind generation; energy efficiency; demand response; and energy storage. Meanwhile, electricity customers should watch their wallets.