• In the Wake of the Texas Power Crisis, Voters Want the U.S. to Maintain Fuel Diversity to Support Reliability

In the Wake of the Texas Power Crisis, Voters Want the U.S. to Maintain Fuel Diversity to Support Reliability

WASHINGTON – The National Mining Association (NMA) today released polling that shows seven in 10 voters – including a majority of Democrats, Republicans and Independents – support maintaining baseload, on-demand power plants, such as coal plants, to support the reliable supply of electricity. The polling was conducted by Morning Consult, Feb. 25-27, 2021, of 1,980 registered voters and carries a +/-2 percent margin of error.

“Questions remain about how we can safeguard against a repeat of the Texas grid crisis but several certainties have emerged,” said Rich Nolan, NMA President and CEO. “No fuel is immune to impacts from extreme weather but fuel diversity helps guard against catastrophic failures. Incentivizing fuel sources that can be stored on-site at power plants and dispatched whenever needed is an important insurance policy for a grid that will be increasingly based on variable power in the future.”

According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the grid’s deepest frequency dip was just over four minutes; had the grid’s frequency remained at that level for nine minutes or more, the grid was at risk of a systemwide shutdown that could have had deeper and longer-term repercussions. All fuel sources that were available were needed.

In just the last few years, Texas has lost roughly 5GW of critically important coal capacity through early retirements. The recent crisis exposes why a thoughtful, informed transition that better values fuel diversity and the fuel security provided by coal generation is so important.

Overreliance on one dispatchable fuel is an increasingly concerning vulnerability policymakers and regulators must address. As the International Energy Agency found in its analysis of the crisis, “The decline in natural gas supplies to the ERCOT market area effectively led to the shut-in of an estimated 31 GW gas-fired power generation capacity on 15 February and was the main reason for the capacity shortfall.”

The NMA also released a video highlighting the serious reliability issues raised by the situation in Texas.

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