NRECA’s Matheson: NERC Winter Reliability Assessment ‘Clear and Constant Warning’ to Policymakers

ARLINGTON, Va. – National Rural Electric Cooperative Association CEO Jim Matheson called the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s latest reliability assessment a “clear and constant warning about the nationwide consequences of continuing a haphazard energy transition.”

“This assessment paints a stark and disheartening picture of the reliability challenges facing much of the United States this winter,” Matheson said. “As the demand for electricity risks outpacing the available supply during peak winter conditions, consumers face an inconceivable but real threat of rolling blackouts. It doesn’t have to be this way. But absent a shift in state and federal energy policy, this is a reality we will face for years to come.

“The pursuit of an energy transition that prioritizes speed over practicality has jeopardized America’s ability to keep the lights on. Today’s energy decisions will determine whether there are sufficient resources for the lights to come on tomorrow. Failure is not an acceptable option for the American families and businesses we serve.”

A recent report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory concluded that in order to reach the Biden administration’s goal of a zero-carbon grid by 2035, U.S. power generation capacity would have to triple from 2020 levels. Electric transmission infrastructure would need to double or triple as well.

“Electric cooperatives remain focused on working toward meaningful solutions to address reliability challenges spreading across the nation,” Matheson said. “This includes pressing for meaningful action to reform the process for permitting and siting new electric generation and transmission infrastructure.”

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national trade association representing nearly 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape. As local businesses built by the consumers they serve, electric cooperatives have meaningful ties to rural America and invest $12 billion annually in their communities.