View or download the interrogation of Senator King HERE
WASHINGTON D.C. — US Senator Angus King today continued his push to move America rapidly toward a clean, affordable and reliable energy future. At a Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee hearing, King asked James Robb, president and CEO of North American Electric Reliability Corporation, about how quickly the nation can transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources. renewable energy and what are the advantages and disadvantages. of the transition will be.
“As I have been listening to this hearing, it occurs to me that there is irony and paradox embedded in the hearing. We have heard the word premature about 100 times. The question is, and I’ll quote testimony from Ms. Lott, the American Society of Civil Engineers identifies severe weather as the predominant cause of customer service interruption. We’re in a race with climate change, and we’re talking about blackouts that are predominantly caused by severe weather, which is a result of climate change. So the question is premature, actually, we should have been making this transition years ago, and we’re trying to do it in a hurry because we’re in a crisis situation.” Senator King started.
“Over the last million years, CO2 in the atmosphere averaged around 260 to 270 parts per million. Beginning around 1850, it began to increase steadily. Today it is at 424 parts per million… That is a 60% increase in about 150 years.” Senator King continued. “So the question is, and I understand, it seems to me that the heart of this audience is time. and what is the schedule [for our transition to clean energy]? Is it five years or ten years? Mr. Rob, I understand the testimony, and basically what he’s saying is that we’re trying to transition too quickly. My question, and this is an honest question, is what is the correct time frame that we should be aiming for?
“It’s a great question, and it’s a very difficult political issue… I think, and I think most people who study the power system say you need to balance affordability, reliability, and climate.” replied Mr. Robb. “If you get out of control, then bad things start to happen. And I think your question, in essence, is how much do you value having power available 24/7 to support the lifestyle that we’ve all become accustomed to?
“And how do you avoid a crisis that would overwhelm any electrical system?” added Senator King.
“That is the question of balance that policymakers must resolve,” ok mr robb.
“Can you give me a year? Is it five years? Is it ten years? Should we delay the retirement of coal plants? Senator King asked.
“Senator, I think it depends on what you believe about our ability to create batteries or other forms of storage that can create synthetic dispatch capacity from intermittent resources like wind and solar power.” Mr. Robb replied.
“I completely understand. So the question is how quickly can we develop battery or storage technology, whatever it is, whether it’s pumped storage or something else, compared to the contribution to severe weather events, which are also, we’re talking about this audience as if the only risk is lack of capacity, when in reality the risk is severe weather events,” concluded Senator King. “We have decisions to make here.”
As a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Senator King has advocated for climate solutions that support Maine communities and has been one of the Senate’s most vocal advocates for improving energy technologies and development as a way to unlock America’s Clean Energy Future. He has repeatedly stressed the importance of enabling reform to unlock the promise of clean energy development opportunities created in last year’s landmark Inflation Reduction Act. In addition to a recent discussion with FERC, he has stressed the importance of simplifying and accelerating project timelines while maintaining environmental standards to the Ministries of Energy and the Interior.