The Energy Department has said in a draft of their upcoming report that renewable energy sources such as wind and solar do not pose a threat to the stability or reliability of the United States energy grid.
This of course clashes with the statements made by Secretary of Energy and man who cannot remember his own policy positions, Rick Perry. Perry had argued that Obama-era clean energy policies were jeopardizing “baseload” sources of energy such as coal and nuclear power.
This study had originally been launched by Perry back in April as a way of building consensus toward Trump’s agenda of rolling back those clean energy policies that were put in place by Obama. One of Trump’s campaign promises was to bring back the American coal industry which really represents no value or purpose in the modern American energy market and is both inefficient and unprofitable. Trump has incorrectly characterized regulations and clean energy policies as being to blame for the decline of coal in America despite all evidence suggesting otherwise.
However, the leaked draft of the report suggests that despite the hopes of Perry and Trump, the experts involved in the study found that renewable energy sources did not negatively impact the grid or create reliability issues. More importantly, the study also found that advanced technology around grid management, battery storage, and demand response were able to accurately control and maintain the grid easing traditional challenges for reliability.
Despite what Trump has repeatedly claimed, the decline of the American coal industry was in motion long before the push for renewable energy sources. Coal power has been an inefficient, expensive, and toxic energy source for decades and in today’s energy market is simply outclassed across the board by cleaner, more efficient energy sources that are more in-demand.
The report notes that rather than regulations, the real culprit in the decline of coal and nuclear plants is due heavily to their old age, maintenance, and expensive upkeep that has made them a less appealing energy source in recent years and has accelerated their closures as mounting maintenance costs and infrastructure decay cut into their profits.
This leaked study, originally obtained by Bloomberg, is not the final draft of the report and given its unfavorable conclusions for the Trump administration, could see some hefty revisions. The leak itself was integral to reveal the findings and conclusions of the experts involved in the study as there’s a not-insignificant chance that the report’s final version when made public will feature a noteworthy change of tone to downplay the innocence of renewable energy and cast doubts on the findings.