Grid Reliability and Resilience Improve with More Low-Carbon Resources

Customer Costs and Pollution Increase if “Baseload” Plants Get Preference

WASHINGTON – Bailing out costly giant power plants will not improve the electric grid’s resiliency but it will increase customer costs and pollution, the director of the Sustainable FERC Project housed within the Natural Resources Defense Council told a House subcommittee today.

In testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy, Senior Attorney John Moore said “baseload” power, often used to describe large coal and nuclear power plants, is not a technically based reliability standard, a unique grid service, nor an attribute of grid resilience even with a 90-day power supply.

“But that doesn’t matter to DOE, which is sowing confusion and suggesting the power grid will be imperiled if we don’t pay large subsidies to keep specific types of generators afloat,” Moore said. “We can achieve a higher level of reliability at a lower cost and with less pollution by defining reliability and resiliency needs first.”

Moore said continuing the transformation of the nation’s power grid to facilitate a low-carbon future will improve reliability and resilience in the long run by reducing the risk of extreme weather and other disruptive events.

A copy of Moore’s written testimony can be found here:

Moore has posted a related blog at:

Information on the Sustainable FERC Project coalition can be found at

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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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