Energy

Wind Lobby Releases Study To Undermine An Energy Department Report They Haven’t Even Seen Yet

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

The wind energy lobby released a study claiming wind turbines are making the grid more reliable as part of its effort to push back against the Department of Energy’s upcoming report on grid reliability.

“Recently, some have raised concerns that current electric market conditions may be undermining the financial viability of certain conventional power plant technologies … and thus jeopardizing electric system reliability,” reads the report by Analysis Group, which American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and Advanced Energy Economy Institute (AEEI) funded.

AWEA funded the study as part of a months-long strategy to push back against a yet-to-be-released Energy Department report examining, in part, how green energy policies impact the reliability of the electric grid, according to a memo The Daily Caller News Foundation recently obtained.

“In addition, some point to federal and state policies supporting renewable energy as a primary cause of such impacts,” reads the report. “The evidence does not support this view.”

“[I]ncreasing quantities of natural gas and renewable generation are increasing the diversity of the power system and supporting continued reliable operations,” reads the report.

AWEA worked with allied groups like AEEI, politicians and reporters to undermine the Energy Department’s study before it could be released, according to the memo. AWEA spokesman Evan Vaughan said the memo was “old news” when asked by TheDCNF.

But AWEA still had the “old news” memo removed from the document hosting site Scribd for “copyright infringement.”

In April, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry ordered his department to conduct a 60-day review on the extent to which regulations, mandates, and tax subsidies “are responsible for forcing the premature retirement of baseload power plants.”

AWEA quickly circulated a memo outlining a campaign to push back against the Energy Department report, fearing it would be used to eliminate subsidies and state mandates favorable to wind power.

AWEA’s memo mentioned hiring a third party to publish research to “debunk” reports by conservative groups, like the Institute for Energy Research (IER). Former IER economist Travis Fisher now works in the Energy Department and is overseeing the agency’s grid reliability study.

“The addition of newer, more technologically advanced and more efficient natural gas and renewable technologies is rendering the power systems in this country more, rather than less, diverse,” Analysis Group wrote in its new report.

IER and other conservative groups have cautioned that too much variable solar and wind power could imperil electric grids. Wind energy has rapidly grown in recent years largely due to federal tax incentives and states mandates.

The Energy Department is expected to release its study in the coming weeks.

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