Grid rule for 14 states discriminates against renewables, greens say

By Zach Bright | 02/27/2024 06:14 AM EST

The Southwest Power Pool is grappling with how to keep the lights on while coal plants retire and renewables come online.

Wind turbines in Papalote, Texas.

Wind turbines in Papalote, Texas. Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Environmental groups are slamming a proposal from the grid operator in 14 states that they say discriminates against wind and solar power, showcasing a debate over how a rapid shift to renewables affects keeping the lights on.

The Southwest Power Pool (SPP), which oversees swaths of the Midwest, West and South, unfairly values renewables and battery storage compared to coal, natural gas and nuclear power in its “resource accreditation” plan filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, according to a statement Monday from the Sierra Club, Earthjustice and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

The plan, which outlines how much value electricity sources add to the grid in terms of reliability, could slow a shift away from fossil fuels in a large chunk of the country and lead to a massive gas build-out there if approved by FERC, the groups said.


“It’s surprising that any regional grid operator — much less one with SPP’s years of experience with widespread gas and coal failures during recent winter storms — would move forward with such an unrealistic accreditation plan for fossil fuel generation,” Greg Wannier, a senior attorney for the Sierra Club, said in a statement.