March 10, 2023 - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have signed a Joint Memorandum of Understanding?(MOU) to guide new clean energy opportunities that will support access to reliable, affordable electricity and advance the United States toward the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of a net-zero economy by 2050. With the power sector facing rising challenges to reliability—from the increasing frequency of extreme weather events to higher energy demand—this agreement provides a framework for both agencies to unlock the reliability advantages of the growing clean energy economy.
“The clean energy transition is an amazing opportunity to add a diverse range of energy sources to our power systems, making them more resilient and reliable,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “I am proud that DOE and EPA are partnering together with industry and communities to help equip the grid to deliver affordable, clean electricity to all Americans.”
“A reliable electric power system is essential to our national security, continued economic growth and the protection of public health. That’s why DOE and EPA are uniting our long-standing efforts to ensure a robust and resilient system, especially as the power sector accelerates the transition to low- and zero-carbon energy sources,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Under this partnership with DOE, we will provide needed regulatory certainty and support grid reliability and resiliency at every stage as the agency advances efforts to reduce pollution, protect public health, and deliver environmental and economic benefits for all.”
“EEI and our member electric companies are focused on affordability and reliability as we work to get the energy we provide to customers as clean as we can as fast as we can,” said Edison Electric Institute President Tom Kuhn. “Both the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency are critical partners in these efforts, and we applaud increased coordination to support the ongoing clean energy transition that electric companies are leading.”
“As we have seen in recent years, the reliability of the electric grid is tied directly to the safety and well-being of our communities,” said National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Executive Director Greg R. White. “Maintaining electricity system reliability during the transition to cleaner energy is critical to NARUC’s members and is in everyone’s best interest. As such, we applaud the DOE and EPA for taking this initiative.”
“PJM supports the Memorandum of Understanding between EPA and DOE, as well as the close involvement of FERC, in addressing electric sector reliability during the energy transition,” said PJM Interconnection LLC. “PJM is grateful for the support for reliability that the DOE and EPA have shown in our ongoing collaboration efforts surrounding the development and implementation of federal policy and regulations.”
“The complex transitions underway in the nation’s electric system can only occur on a foundation of superb reliability,” said Analysis Group Senior Advisor Dr. Susan Tierney. “Secretary Granholm and Administrator Regan underscore the importance of this fact in committing DOE and EPA staff to work together as they carry out their old and new authorities to help ready the U.S. power sector for the needs of Americans today and tomorrow.”
The new MOU on Interagency Communication and Consultation on Electric Reliability, signed by Secretary Granholm and Administrator Regan, comes as President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act provided unprecedented support for American infrastructure, including DOE’s new Grid Deployment Office. It also builds upon longstanding engagement from DOE and EPA with the power sector and further commits the agencies to routine and comprehensive communication about policies, programs, and activities regarding electric reliability. This includes sharing information and analysis, and ongoing monitoring and outreach to key stakeholders to proactively address reliability challenges.
Both agencies have designated a team of experts on electric reliability to serve as points of contact for routine communications across the agencies. In addition, the agencies will meet on an at least semiannual basis to provide updates about policies, programs, and activities pertaining to electric reliability, share information and analysis, and discuss ongoing monitoring and outreach activities.
The United States already has in place a multilayered system of institutions, policies, and practices to ensure that our infrastructure for generating, transmitting, and distributing electric power maintains the highest standards of reliability. The MOU ensures that, with the sound application of existing authorities and policy tools, DOE and EPA can continue to support the ability of the power sector to maintain electric reliability and seize new reliability opportunities presented by clean energy advancement. EPA and DOE anticipate continued consultation with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on electric reliability challenges.
The MOU will support the work of the two agencies as EPA develops new health and environmental protections for the power sector and as DOE works to implement President Biden’s historic investments in America, including resources for clean energy deployment and grid reliability and resilience from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act.