tv Weather and The Electric Power System CSPAN January 31, 2018 12:49pm-3:06pm EST
capitals tour. alabama senate del ml
marsh wil be on the bus. last week held major weather events on ts power system. federal regulatory energy commission and secretary for electricity delivery and reliability testified. this is two hours and 15 minutes. >> call this hearing to order. welcome everybody here. senator murkowski will be here shortly for the hearing entitled mid-atlantic weather events including the bomb cyclone. i'd like to start by calling on the ranking member to give her opening statement. >> thank you, chair. and good morning to everyone.
i'm sure senator murkowski will be here shortly. as
some people noah 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of alaska with northwest warnings issuesed for activities that were expected the warning for the tsunami waves have been recalled and no doubt i'm sure the senator is dealing with lots of things related to that. i want to thank our witnesses, chairman mcintyre and mr. walker for being here and the staff people that are here and blade we are back in operation. so we look forward from hearing all of the witnesses on the subject of the reliability of the grid and its performance. last year, secretary perry and the staff viewed the liability of the fuel mix and i was relieved when i saw the staff report in august which i thought was balanced.
it carefully distinguished between reliability and resilience and introducing renewable resources rgs synthetic i inertia and frequency response and resilience metrics needed to be developed. unfortunately, secretary perifiled the report as a proposal, i was alarmed. ignoring the conclusion of the staff. to prop up the administration favored kinds of energy getting out paced in the marketplace. many problems with the proposal, never defined resilience, picked a single tribute and elevated above all other factors. promised full recovery for coal and some states that chaes to follow a market model years ago and hit consumers of billions of
dollars added costs to multiple independent assessments. bailing out coal plants just isn't bad policy but breathe taking raid on the consumers pocketbooks. the secretary proposal could nearly double the cost of wholesale energy in the nation's largest trek tr largest electricity market. i think the commission wisely reviewed the federal power acts in reasonable standard for electricity rates and found that the secretary haven't met the burden and proving the current rules are unjust and unreasonable. consumers couldn't ask for a better defense. coal interest and the lobbying department, it has never been most important for them to maintain i understand. i hope the secretary's proposal hasn't givenen resilience a bad
name. hurricanes in florida and texas versus puerto rico shows that resilience effects the lives and quality and deserves more attention. i'm pleased that we have allison clements testifying today along with our other witnesses. serves on the committee that wrote a report on grid resilience and i would like to submit it for the record. it has a series of concrete recommendation to congress and the department of energy that i hope we can explore. thank you for all the witnesses for being here and calling this hearing. >> thank you senator cantwell and my apologies to my witness members and committee members, we had a busy morning in alaska, i appreciate more than every, like the earthquake and tsunami early warning systems. it is important they are there and operating now that the government is back to order.
last week i outlined the busy agenda that we'll have this here and maintaining our focus on legislation nomination and oversight is a critical part of the roll. agencies under the jurgs diction, today is an opportunity to engage whether policy is helping or hindering improvements in performance. while it may not be up to alaska standards, the cold snow and ice along the eastern snow board was notable over the holidays and into the new year. the worst occurred in the shoulders and we didn't reach the extremes felt in the 2014 polar vortex we did experience a so called bomb cyclone event. i understand that it is a cyclone storm system in which the pressure drops in a short period of time. apparently these happen often off the northeast coast but this one was a record breaker with a largest pressure drop in a 24 hour period since 1976.
as such, it presented a kind of informative stressed test for the lek tri power system. i often say that federal law and policy enable energy to be affordable, clean, diverse and secure. with this hearing we return to a subject i've been following since 2010 about how changes in the nation's electric grid and the mix of primary electricity sources are stressing system reliability and what federal changes are necessary to address those changes. the secretary of energy and the recent order focused on the same issues. in 2014 following the polar vor text we held a similar hearing. i said then we needed to redouble a properly scaled and continuously improving approach to grid reliability and security. i'm pleased to see that today testimony shows there's many lessons learned from that extreme weather event.
there seems to be improved coordination between the electric and gas systems. reformed market rules and improved business practices. and that's all good news. that the bad news is we have not addressed the difficult and fund men talt challenges for electric and gas instra structure. gas pipeline remains too constrained. broader policy changes are not sufficiently taking into account increasing risks that in future years system operators may have to turn to intentional service interruptions known as load she hadding or black outs to manage certain peak periods. one of the witnesses will speak about the situation in new england which in some respects can serve as challenges in other parts of our nation. we must ensure that the nation's natural gas supply is a boom to the economy, can be reliablely delivered to a changing
marketplace at the same time it's not clear what the reliability and economic impacts will be of a grid who has primary electricity resources are less diverse over time as nuclear and call units continue to retire. meeting these challenges will strengthen competition for the benefit of energy customers should be a shared priority. promoting competition is a policy that enjoyed wide bipartisan support for more than two decades. we will hear from leaders of the two agencies and heads of three regulated entities with quasisigh regulatory responsibilities, the corporation or nerk and the two regional transmission pjm and iso new england and the members of the academy of science engineering and medicine. i welcome each of you to the
committee this morning and look forward to your testimony. i would ask that you try to limit your testimony this morning to about five minutes. your full statements will be included as part of the record. this morning we're joined by the honorable kevin mcintyre, the chairman, this is the first time you have appeared before the committee in your capacity as chairman, we welcome you. the honorable bruce walker, as the assistant of the office of electricity, delivery and energy reliebt at the usdoe. good to see you. mr. charles, ber ra december koe, the independent rerm president and we welcome you. allison clements, the president of good rid llc. we thank you. mr. andrew ott is the president and ceo of pjm interconnection
llc and mr. gordon van weally, the president and ceo of iso new england. chairman mcintyre if you would begin with your comments this morning. >> yes, senator. chairman and members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to discuss the performance of the electric system during the recent weather events. m i'm honored to serve as chairman. concerning the reliability of the power system in this country. we are still receiving and reviewing the data related to the performance of the bulk power system during the cold weather event that has taken place over the past month. based on what we know to date, it appears that not with standing stress and several
regions overall, the bulk power system performed well amidst challenging circumstances. looking forward, we must learn from this experience and remain vigilant with respect to challenges with the reliability and resilience of the power system. the performance, now known as the polar vortex did provide useful confect for understanding the performance of the bulk power system under the more recent winter events of the past month. during the 2014 polar vortex most of the u.s. experienced cold weather. the challenges by these conditions and high electric demand compounded by unplanned generator shut downs of various fuel types. these combined circumstances tested grid reliability and power supplies and contributed
to high electricity prices. drawing on that experience, we took numerous actions as you have referenced to address reliability and resource performance issues. for example, the commission directed regional transmission organizations and independent system operators or rtos and to report on fuel eninsurance issues and the commission revised the regular lags to enhance coordination between the natural glass and electric industries. in the light of increasing use as fuel for electric generation. for certain regions, the commission improved capacity market reforms that are intented to increase financial incentives for improved resource performance and to penalize nonperformance or poor performance. the commission approved temporary winter reliability programs in new england. turning to the winter event of
the past month, it is useful to consider the impact of the recent weather events on the provision of service and the associated cost of that service. importantly, there were no significant customer out ages that results from the generators or transmission lines. while no specific reliability problems during this recent cold weather event, wholesale energy prices were high reflecting stress on the system. accurately reflecting fuel cost can be beneficial sending important signal that is drive operations for utilities and consumers. we recognize that higher prices are ultimately born by retail customers so the commission is attentive to the potential for behavior that takes advantage of extreme weather advance. just as the commission and hto
and, sos drew lessons from the vortex in 2014 and had us better prepared, we will kpan the recent events and seek to learn from them. i'd like to emphasize a few points that the commission made on the issue of resilience more generally. on january 8th the commission respond to the proposed rule on grid reliability and resilience pricing submitted to the commission by the secretary of energy and we initiated a new proceeding to further explore resilience issues. as we stated in our order, we appreciate the secretary reinforcing the importance of the resilience of the bulk power system as a issue that warrants further attention and prompt attention. the goals of our new proceeding
are first, to develop a common understanding among the commission and industry and others as to what resilience or the bulk power system means and requires. second, to understand how each rto and iso assesses resilience within the geographic footprint and third to use this information to evaluate whether action is appropriate at this time. commission directed each rco and iso to commit 60 days within the order specific information regarding the resilience of the bulk power system with the regions and we invited other interested entities to reapply within 30 days. we expect to review the material and decide whether it is warrant to address resilience. in the january 8th order, the commission recognized that the concept of resilience
necessarily involves issues that extend beyond our commissions jurisdiction such as distribution system reliability and mornization. for that reason we encourage rtos and isos to engage with state regulators and other stake holders to address resilience at the distribution level and broadly. i assure you that reliability and the resilience of the bulk power system will remain a property of the ferk i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you, chairman mcintyre. secretary walker, welcome. >> thank you. distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to discuss good resilience during the recent cold weather affecting the northeast united states. just a month ago i testified secretary periand the
administration remained supportive of the this restore ration. the topic of today's hearing is timely and the energy sector are top priorities of the secretary and a major focus of the department of energy. the first study was a staff report to the secretary and electricity market and reliability. the report examined the revolution of the wholesale electric marks and the effect on grid reliability and resilience and capacity markets compensating specific attributes, the connection between regulatory burden ens and the retirement of power plants. born out of the recent severe vet across the nation. the last nefrl months have been demanding on the energy sector from an active hurricane season to the 2018 deep freeze, confronting challenges of the energy infrastructure in different ways. during the recent cold snap to early january, the knot eanorthw
a record low temperatures. what was apparent is the continuery license on base low generation, without action that recognizes the essential reliability services provided by strategically diverse phied portfolio -- the grid integrity maintained by fuel sources and on site fuel cap ables. however, question is whether or not this diversity will be here tomorrow. resilience for the electric infrastructure is more important as major parts of the economy is depending on it. -- at the same time we are in the early stages of large transformation with this process of change likely to continue many years. keeping the lights on during this transformation will need collaboration amongst many parties. doe is committed to work with
ferk and regional rtos and iso to achieve this mission. with growing stress the integration of distributed energy resources, dynamic markets, increasing cyber security and physical threat anded advent of the things. must be designed to ensure reliability and resilience over the next century. today the marketplace focused on building and maintaining a system, is driving the design of the system. however, it is clear we need an in-depth understanding of the resilience in order to know how to best modify existing market structures and or build new resiliency standards into the system. to that end i propose that doe under take a detailed analysis that intergrades a model of the on going resilient planning efforts at the local and
regional efforts between canada and mexico. and fills gaps and horm nices inconsistencies and various efforts a the the same levels. i understand we don't have funds appropriated for such tasks, i believe that building this resiliency model should be the top priority for doe over the coming years. as does the leadership of the department of energy. to address challenges proposed by the event and the issues is critical for us to be proactive and cultivated in an ecosystem of resilience, network of producers, distributors, vendors and public partners acting together to repair respond and recover. doe continues to partner with local governments, states and industries and other stake hoelters to quickly identify threats and develop in-depth
strategies and respond to disruption. resilience is not one time but a habit. not something that can be done 24-48 hours before an event. resilience is approaching the infrastructure with long-term planning in mind. -- in conclusion, today we are faced with various threats that continually become more frequent and impact full. the energy system that provided services throughout the nation is prime targets, we need to build upon the reliable system we have today realize from the hard work of ferk and the rtos and isos to save the effects of the present and real threats. the concern is that energy markets driving the sources throughout the nation. indeed, most of the investments are made to address economic das
patch used within specific regions. this has a resulted in a significant reliance perhaps over reliance unless costly fuelled. in this case today, natural gas. the lack of a comprehensive integrated process to drive appropriate resilience, take into account critical infrastructure, essential l reliability services and affordability increases the risk of a come promiezed energy infrastructure and thus, the stewa security of this nation. thank you and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you assistant secretary i appreciate your words. mr. berardesco. >> thank you. members of the committee, thank you for holding today's hearing. i'm the interim president and
ceo. in addition to developing and enforcing mandatory reliability standards for bulk power system, we're assessing reliability and monitor system operations including knew england and the mid atlantic. the monitoring of the power system and work with stake holders industry and government. the performance of the system during the recent extreme cold weather, how they foster the continuous learning environment to improve reliability and the recommendations based on the assessments. severe weather among other things an opportunity to learn fromevents and improve reliability for the future. stress on the system points to reliability risks that should be addressed. the awareness group is the eyes and ears on the system and an important part of the process. on a daily basis we monitor operations on the grid working
with the regional entities reliability coordinators transmission operators and generators. in conjunction with the regional entities we analyze system disturbances, in turn this information shared with industry operators, ferk and doe. these activities provide daily visibility into the system and actionable information to improve reliability. during extreme weather events nerk operates on an elevated basis, we have calls with regional entities and affected areas and gather information from the reliability coordinators about concerns and issues associated with the impenting storm. multiple calls held daily with the staff to understand fuel levels, natural gas availability and factors such as fuel storage and replenish meant plans.
during the extreme cold, the primary challenge was serving electricity demand during a period of near and record winter lows. to manage the situation, reliability coordinators implemented operations and emergency procedures and heightened planning communication and preparation. throughout, the power system remained stable and reliable. a diverse generation mix with adequate flexibility and back up tool key to meeting the demand and all forms of generation contributed to serving. new england experienced the greatest stress to the system, increase use of fuel oil for generation due to high natural gas prices combined with record setting consumption of natural gas. delayed do to a winter storm impacting knew england. the loss hof a nuclear power
station removed 685 mega watts for several days and throughout all of this, in new england and elsewhere, no loss of low due to the conditions. based on the information we reviewed to date. we are seeing improved performance this winter compared to past winters of similar or worst severity. this is due to actions taken from the lessons of the 2014 polar vortex. reporting analyzing the vortex under scores the need for thorough and sustained winter preparation. communication and reliable fuel supply. nerk and the regions, conduct annual workshops and web nars concerning winter weather preparation, provide lessons learned and share industry praks. the regional entities are important to leveraging the work at the regional level. the reliability first.
conducted 18 on site visits since the polar vortex. these engagements are targeted at facilities that have experienced freezing or cold weather. this collaboration helping remedy winter challenges and shared lessons learned and contributing to improve performance. while the recent period was less severe than the 2014 polar vortex, observations point to four recommendations. first, reliable and assured fuel supply is essential to electrical reliability. wholesale electricity markets, develop additional rules to enkurj increased fuel security particularly during winter months. policy should promote reliable natural gas supply and transportation. generator owners and operators
should maintain and regular test back you may fuel. regulation of oil based fuel for back up generation raises a potential need for consideration of air permit wavers and finally, during the extreme cold a diverse generation mix flexible fuel resources and back up fuel were key to meeting increased electricity demand. recommended policymakers to consider promoting this. thank you for this opportunity i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. ms. clements, welcome. >> thank you. good morning. thank you and good morning ranking member can't spell distinguished members of the committee. i'm president of good grid a firm that specializes in energy policy and law. in 2016 to 2017 i severed on the national academy of sciences, engineering and medicine
committee that produced this report. well, i will talk about the reports findings and views. the national dialogue about resilience comes a the a critical moment. the u.s. electricity grood is vulnerable to the risk of cyber and physical attack and the increased frequency duration of hurricanes, blizzards, floods and weather events caused by climate change. the hurricanes you mentioned provide the most vivid examples of the health and safety impacts that prolong electricity out ages can have especially our most vulnerable communities. natural disasters cost $306 billion in 2017 making it by far the most expensive natural disaster year on record. as they most recently defined it, resilience, the ability to with stand and reduce the
magnitude or duration of a disruptive event. importantly, resilience is a distribution concept and not one that is specifically focused on power generation types. we must distinguish between resilience and reliability ags you mentioned. grid reliability is ensuring that enough generation and transmission exist to satisfy all customers electricity needs and avoiding blackouts if a line or plant goes down. while implementing reliability rules is certainly complex, the concept itself is straightforward and minimal standards. resilience has emerged with this massive new risk brought on by the threat of attack and impacts of climate change. the unprebeing disabilitiable nature of the threats like this morning's cancelled tsunami warning, the finding and developing resilience metrics is
difficult and existing nerk for reliability provide resilient benefit, the winter conditions provide three take aways. first, the transmission system is reliable. we've heard this. incorporating lessons learned from the 2014 polar vortex rtos managed drk like the manual shut down in new england. before we rush to establish resilience rules for the transmission system, we should should determine what markets, planning and operations protocol do in terms of supporting resilience and whether additional metrics are necessary. the national academy promote caution about the cost effective and nonredundant rules for unpredictable and various resilient needs. this committee can support what
chairman mcintyre described. efforts to ensure resilience, focus on protecting communities, hospitals and critical services. the bulk system reliability, 80,000 homes and businesses had little comfort when they lost power during the bomb cyclone. to tackle and use resilience needs, we depend on planning and emergency preparedness at the local and state level. proactive congressional support especially by a private pleasure public partnership can go a long way in improving resilience. third, renewable energy and distributed energy resources are critical components of a reliable grid. the bomb cyclone and the 2014 polar vortex affirm wind power roll as a critical woelt we would reliability resource. wind power performed above and
didn't go offline helping to avoid price spikes and other blackouts. distributed energy resources especially customers getting paid to reduce power use can provide chiropractics to extreme reliability as well. this was demonstrated during the polar vortex where 3,000 mega watts played a role. unfortunately, they don't provide incentives for economic reducks ournd these conditions and did not facilitate demand response this month to my understanding. these take aways affirm the value of competitive wholesale markets and technology neutral support for the markets. with the doe proposed this committee should be weary. at this critical moment and
through smart resilience policy this committee has a strong opportunity to support a clean, reliable and affordable energy future. thank you. >> thank you ms. clements. mr. ott, welcome to the committee. >> thank you. i appreciate the opportunity to testify in front of you today about pgm's experience from december 23 to january 7th. i wish to offer also, our perspective on activities we need to engage in in the future to ensure that our nation electric infrastructure remains reliable and rejisilient. as i note in my testimony, we are a regulated region transmissional organization serving 13 states plus the district of colombia. we have a population of 65
million people so the reliable of the grid is job one for us. during recent cold weather we experienced three of the top ten winter peaks of all times. overall, the grid and generation fleet performed very well. we had very sustained high performance throughout the cold snap. this cold snap was prolonged as appeared to the polar vortex, shorter and deeper cold. this one was prolonged and we depended on that prolonged improved performance. we instituted reforms in the capacity market regarding pay for performance based on lessons learned from the polar vortex as chairman indicated and we did see significantly improved performance during this cold weather event. all resource types. coal fire generation, gas fire, nuclear and all performed better
in this cold weather event than what we saw in poe la are vortex and we see that improvement based on the lessons learned improvements investment back into the resources to see that they perform well. i can assure you that the grid is reliable today. our work is not done. we certainly cannot become complacent. we need to look at certain initiatives to undertake and pgm has been undertaking them to look at the resilient of the grid and how we are going to improve the robustness and resilience in the future. we can look at it from three perspectives. we have to plan the grid with an eye towards resilient and go beyond the traditional cry tier yachlt operate it by looking at increases risks and threat that is we see and look at recovery of the grid should something happen, we need to be able to bounce back quickly.
i want to bring to the committees attention some of the broader initiatives. we will work in partnership with the new chairman as we go there you the process that they opened. one of the most important things we have been focused on is how do our market electricity market compensate for resources providing reliability services? and we've proposed key reforms and engaged in discussion about key reforms on price formation and i want to spend time explaining is what that means. for this committee and for ferk as a whole. to be clear, the generating units we call upon to serve customers and produce electricity get paid. their offers and costs and certainly are not uncompensated. at times what we find is the total cost of operation of those units to provide the reliable
power in each day, they don't necessarily get those moneys in the market. sometimes the market price doesn't reflect the fact they are online and running so we have to do an out of market payment. normally the out of market payments are about $500,000 a day for us can which is small compared to the total cost of electricity. what it shows we are running the units to provide reliability to the grid but the fact they are running isn't reflected in the price of electricity. they get paid but they rrnt seeing it in the price. so when they go to sell the electricity forward, for next month or year, selling it a the a discount. so that's the issue we have to address and that's the issue
that all resources will benefit from whether it is coal fire resources, gas fire, nuclear, renewable, demand response, alternative technologies, if we get the price right all of the resources will see the dollar value they are proposing and that's what we want to engage in, that conversation. there's so many things we need to address, we need to put time discipline and we're looking for ferk and will work with them to put time on them to discuss them in a timely manner. >> thank you mr. ott. mr. van weally. >> thank you so much for the opportunity to appear before you this morning. 2013 i appeared before this committee we are becoming more
dependent. and since that time we've continued to express our concern over the lack of secure fuel arrangements in the region and highlighted the possibility that both wholesale and energy prices and emissions would rise to extreme weather results and pipeline constraints. late december and early january, we experienced the impacts of the current fuel constraints as increase in demand for natural gas in the region. we've known that when it gets cold the region doesn't have sufficient gas infrastructure to meet demand for home heating and power generation the. high gas prices causing it to be priced out of the market. as a result, the bulk of the replacement energy provided by burning oil. through steam generators, burning oil or sbiching fr--
switching from gas to oil. -- needs to be replays and however in a snow or ice event, replenish meant can be difficult or impossible. second, emission regulations limit the run time of oil genere tors, finally, both the fuel constraints and the rapid depletion of the oil industry decrease the reliability consequences of a large transmission or generator out age during an extended cold weather event. circumstances causing us to reduce the operation of the generators and commit resources into the market to manage the fuel inventory through tail end of of that extreme weather event. we have been fortunate to not experience con tin gin sis we can't handle and the power system operated reliebly. we will monitor region fuel
avail billty. regardless of the outcome of the remainder of the winter, the last few weeks validate our concerns and under score a study that was released last week. late 2016 we had a study called the operational fuel security analysis to improve the region's understanding of the reliability risk stemming from the lack of fuel security. the recent experience leads us to the conclusion that no new incremental gas -- the study does not assume the build out of additional gas supply and infrastuch for power generation. we examine 23 different scenarios to analyze if another fuel will be available to meet demand and assess the operational use materialized or the critical resources on the system. the analysis short falls due to
inadequate fuel would occur with almost every scenario, frequent use of emergency action and protecting grid reliability. i will discuss the results of this analysis with stake holders, policymakers and regulators in the region throughout 2018 to understand the level of fuel security ris and can hopefully determine what level risk the region and the grid operator should accept. it will be costly to remedy these fuel security challenges. however, the alternative is negative impacts on system reliability, chronic price spikes during cold weather, higher emissions when more economic to burn oil and natural gas and the possibility of further interventions by the iso into the market to delay the time of critical resources. wholesale markets and the transformation have resulted in significant economic and environmental benefits to the
region. however, the fuel securities difficulties are real and they are significant. if we're able to meet these challenges, i think it will result in a more reliable, efficient and clean power grid benefitting the entire region. i appreciate your focus on this important matter and look forward to questions you might have. >> thank you, i appreciate the testimony of each of you this morning. senator manchin indicated he has a pressing and asked politely so i'm going to yield my time, you may take the first question frmg i begged. i begged. i want to thank you you chairman and my dear friend ranking member cantwell for allowing me to have this opportunity and as you know west virginia is a heavy lifting state for a long time we are blessed and pleased to provide the energy the country needed starting way back
when. so we are proud of the energy part that we play in this great nation. with that i think you know i'm an all in energy portfolio in the state of west virginia is too even though coal is a dominant factor and -- rogersville and we've been blessed and we're able to help the country. ive been local about this for years specifically since the polar vortex and the recent cold period that we had. i supported the recent department of energy grid study and the rule making i've been requesting questions about reliability and resilience in this committee for some time and will continue to do so particularly because we see them going offline. we know the market forces at play. but over-the-most recent deep
freeze of the bomb cyclone, the grid performed well and i think you all recognized that and i applaud each of you in your rule, especially you mr. ott, west virginia stayed warm and the lights stayed on. pgm is in west virginia. we need to stay vigilant, because the latest cold snap, many plants fighting to survive. we need to better protect consumers from the shock of high electric bills when these events happen and west virginia bills has my colleague said, in a short period of time no fault of its own and i continue to be concerned that without criteria or standards for resilient it is hard to nowhere our grid is resilient or not. for those people who believe that we can do without fossil completely and i want us all to be honest and accurate.
we can. maybe that day will come in the future. it is not here. and what period of time and how soon, i don't know. i want to make sure we can provide what this country needs immediately and continue to do so for the time it's going to be called upon. if i can start with you mr. mcintyre and ask one question. what would this country have done without the back up of coal fired plants in the polar vortex and this last bomb cyclone, if you will, and what critical position would it put our country if any so we can put that to rest and find out how we can stabilize and keep coal vien brant so it is there for the resilience and the dend ability that this country need. >> coal did as you heard from the witnesses here perform well alongside other -- >> the question i'm asking would the system have been able to be flexible enough to provide the energy we needed during these
periods of time? >> in this recent weather event we wouldn't have seen a wide spread outages, it was a key contributor, it wasn't exception from operational problems. but no question, the key contributor. i share your overall view that all of the above needs to be our philosophy of the different types. >> coal needs to have a place? >> absolutely. >> mr. walker. >> thank you for the question. so you said something i want to -- there's a nuance, whether or not we could or should survive without the coal -- >> some people think we should -- >> right, and i think it is important to point out. >> i think they're wrong nk the evolution of the electric grid has tide together the vast energy systems throughout the united states. coal, natural gas, oil. in so much as what we've done is
put ourselves in position where we now have more infrastructure to have to protect to ensure the safe and reliable distribution of bulk power. so coal did play an important part here and on average it presented and provided 38% of the load during this event. so you know -- >> you think if it wasn't available we would have been in serious problems. >> the markets would have met the need with just simply much higher resources. but the point i'm trying to make and perhaps not well, is that when we start relying on the other resources things like natural gas and oil we increase our exposure because now the critical infrastructure is not a coal sit at the plant. i have to outline thousands of miles of pipelines or transportation systems to get oil to locations.
so the challenge to manage this particularly facing the threats we have today with mostly physical and cyber security, really really should give us plauz to step back and think about the diversity mix and whether or not we could get rid of oil, the better question is should we get rid of oil? or coal rather. >> i'm not worried about oil. >> each one has certain characteristics that are important. i apologize for that. on page 86 of the staff report there's a chart that defines the different values and i think it is we have an opportunity to go forward with and i look forward to working with the respective rtos, finding the mix that gives us diversity for the resiliency and minimizing our exposure from the threats today. >> can i ask mr. ott for the
pjm. was it 56 million -- >> you are pressing your look this morning. >> mr. ott, please. >> i'll make it short. the reality is again, for this past event 45,000 mega watts of the electricity which we deliver which is 40% or more we could not have severed the customers without the coal fire resources. are the prices reflecting the fact, no it is not we need to fix that. clearly we need it for now, the question is how does it transition? clearly, some coal plants don't know and don't spruce electricity, they should go. the ones running online everyday should be reflected in the price. we need those, some can go and some have to stay. >> thank you all. and thank you madam chairman to for being con sid separate kind. >> it's a new day. senator cantwell.
>> thank you madam, chair. mr. walker, obviously you've heard some of the recommendations on resiliency, which one of those ideas in the report stand out to you as good things to implement? >> i think the position that ferk has take nn reestablishing it, in bringing the rtos and isos to evaluate the resiliency on their expected systems will provide an excellent baseline. and i had the opportunity to meet with him and go over the report and look add the work done, those are two fantastic baseline analysis that will enable ferk, due wee and the
rtos and iso to move forward on understand being the system and build a better and resilient system informed by where the actual risk is and not the markets. >> well, i appreciate your comments about a come promiezed infrastructure and cyber security. that's where we should be spending our attention and i'm reminded of this debate we had in this committee in 2015 about that very issue where oil and coal were competing for rail supremacy is the way to say it and definitely left north or i would say upper midwest utilities without the ability to serve customers because of congestion. so the dynamic is changing so i appreciate the reports and the
recommendations of the reports. you're citing the changing nature of economics and the challenges it delivers to the utilities into those who regulate the utilities and that is why chairman mcintyre, i'm so glad that you guys resisted what i thought was undue political pressure trying to force a bailout. i know that last week commissioner filed an exparty notice of first energy of cold plant transfer. i think that was the right thing for him to dochl the news was troubling to me saying those were trying to do the political aspect instead of the economic issues at stake here. so i don't -- what do you plan to continue to do to make sure ferk is an independent agency
and give confect with enron manipulate the energy markets, people didn't understand what ferk was, now it's a household word, those that protect them from being gouged unfairly on energy prices something so important to the economy on the novrt west r northwest. >> thank you for the question, senator. it is essential to -- first of all it is that way by design in the construction and it is important to me personally as i stated. and i intend to do my upmost to ensure it lives up to that independence. in this particular instance, i'm delighted that we had a 5-0 vote reflect in our january 8th order. that reflect as bipartisan
commission from democrats and republicans. and i'm excited to see a common path forward in pursuing this issue of resilient. >> so you'll make sure that politics stays out of it? >> thus far, honestly it hasn't been a problem. i have not personally felt undo influence in efforts to affect my decision making i expect that to continue. >> thank you. ms. clements, what about the northeast. what are some of the other options and i certainly understand the value of supply. i don't want to -- what do you think are some other solutions for the region for you know, reliance and resilient? >> thank you for the question. i think there's a couple of realities we have to start with when answering that question and one is that this transition towards different resource mix
one that has low marginal cost. free fuel from the sun and wind as a predominant choice on parts of communities, companies, and citizens is already under way and happening. what the grid opioid rerators h always done is manage that transition well. and so the idea that this new set of resources coming on, can't be reliable is a false place to start. and the last reality to inform the answer to the question, fuel diversity is one aspect of a rezr rezil intelligent and reliable grid. not the only one. the report from new england is a great input as to what is the standard regional planning practices and integrated system operator it is. it showed 23 different scenarios
and the assumptions included in the report yet to be vetted through stake holder process and there's views on different ones on whether those are the correct consumptions but the report doesn't look at energy efficiency, the cheapest most effective resource. it doesn't look at energy storage or any of the other options. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. mr. mcintyre. wyoming is leading. responsible for wyoming jobs and building and state local government revenues and coal and uranium play a role in the electric grid reliability and resilience. during this recent cold snap, critical to meeting the electricity demand during the most extreme conditions. so i'm concerned about the economic impact and electric reliability impact of the continued retirement of these vital resources across the
country. so as ferk deals with this grid resiliency question, is the commission going to talk about pricing in terms of attributes in testimonies of coal and resources? >> thank you for the question, senator. i don't think we are doing a complete job if we don't take that into account. we've been fairly broad in the range of the questions that we've put to the boots on the ground here which are the rtos and iso ezeki's. keeping the lights on and what is needed from a market standpoint since they run the organized markets and footprints as well. what is needed to ensure that resources that are indeed contributing resilience benefits to our grid are properly compensated.
>> following that out, and i'll ask you mr. otto weigh in. heavily reliant on base load, coal and nuclear generation during this recent cold snap. specifically, showing that at the peak coal fire generation accounted for 7% of the dispatched capacity despite being 2.6% of installed capacity in the region. so it called upon to perform. additionally, nuclear generation accounted for 23% of dispatched capacity despite being 12% of the installed capacity. so isn't it fair to conclude when the region needed power the most, it was the reliable coal and nuclear power plants necessary to keep the lights on? >> well,ic coal and oil definitely coal and nuclear contributed. the prospect for coal and new
england. we have four nuclear reactors, one of which will retire soon and what was surprising for us, 35% of energy so i think the issue for us in new england is that we are definitely transitioning to a different power system as the region strives to decarbonize. by definition we have to reduce the amount of fossil fuel burnt in the region. the question is, what's the game plan looking forward in terms of to do so reliably? and the idea behind the study is to demonstrate the consequences of doing nothing in the first instance, which we think are severe. and lay off policymakers various powers forward. i think we're looking to engage a conversation on how best to orchestrate that transition. >> mr. ott, would you like to add anything about pjm's experience? >> yes, sir. certainly from pjm's experience
we have a much bigger proportion of our total resource mix being coal and nuclear. in fact, during this recent cold weather event, obviously more than half of the total supply was coal and nuclear. and certainly, i mean, clear we couldn't survive without gas, we couldn't survive without coal, we couldn't survive without nuclear. we need them all in the moment and i think the key is each of these bring to the table reliability characteristics. each of these are online when we need them. the point was as i made in my opening comments, the pricing doesn't always reflect that therefore when they go sell their energy forward, the fact they were on for reliability during the cold weather isn't reflected in the forward price. that's unfair. it puts them at a disadvantage and we need to fix it. and i think really this debate over there are certain coal plants frankly that are old and didn't run much during this period, those need to retire. those that are online running and every day we need to keep them and that's the reality. >> so are there some specific
actions that you might recommend ferc take to ensure that base load coal and nuclear generation resources are paid for the value that they bring to the grid? >> yeah. certainly we've discussed that with ferc and certainly we'll continue the discussion with the chairman as part of this new docket. really it focuses on the energy price formation that we've just discussed in saying we really need to take a hard look at that. ferc had already looked at fast start pricing, and the phenomena i'm describing here, fast start pricing, won't affect that. we need to look at the pricing related to these types of events where it's not the resources that are flexible moving around. it's the ones that are online and serving customers. >> thank you, thank you, madame chair. >> thank you, senator. senator smith. >> thank you, madame chair for organizing this very important hearing. i very much appreciated reading
your testimony though i'm sorry i missed your comments here today. it's apropos because minnesota is this morning digging out from a major snow event. in minnesota that means a lot of snow, not a little bit of snow. and so it is uppermost on my mind about the impact of dangerous weather events on sort of the resilience of the whole community. so i really appreciate how important this is to all come together. last week, we heard in this committee from the international energy agency director about renewable energy. and how renewable energy like wind and solar is going to be the lowest cost new generation around the world within maybe the next ten years. and also how energy storage costs are dropping as well. so i'd be very interested in hearing from this panel about how you think these changes will affect the grid, the reliability and the resilience of the grid. it seems to me that diversifying would contribute to that, but
i'd be very interested to know what your perspectives are on this, really, anybody. >> i'll jump in briefly, first, senator. i say again, welcome to washington. renewable generation is already clearly in the column of success story and gets better every year. and it is contributing reliably to the satisfaction of our nation -- of our nation's electricity needs today. and i expect that trend to continue. it performs well during harsh weather, as we heard, including improved performance of wind resources in cold weather conditions. that said, it's still the case that it presents operational challenges in that the wind isn't always blowing and sun isn't always shining. that presents some realities to it. i think energy storage, which your question referenced also, will be something that will
advance the ball significantly toward addressing that. not so much today at least my view a compensation issue as a technological one. we need the technology to take that next big step. but with that, i think the picture of that side of the industry is good already and improving. >> go ahead. >> senator, thank you for the comment. i would note that the diversity that you speak to, i think, does in fact add to the capability to provide resilient power. and i think in particular the integration of renewables provides strategic use of those resources to meet certain demands and certain requirements in certain areas that they really can add tremendous level of capability. that being said, storage, as i noted in my confirmation hearing, i considered the holy grail of the electric system. and that being said, it is one of the top five goals in my specific department to focus in
on really moving grid megawatt scale storage forward so that we can integrate that as a resource and help enable integration of renewables and other resources to be really key parts of our resilient grid. >> thank you. maybe i could just follow-up on with miss clements on this. what role do you see energy efficiency, and you also have talked some about demand response play in resilience. in minnesota we've had some success weatherizing homes, for example, to lower energy consumption, take some of the pressure off the grid. i'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on that. >> thanks for the question, senator. energy efficiency is the most underrated resource we have. it's the cheapest by far. we've been talking about it for a long time, so perhaps it's not as exciting and new, but the potential is still high. a different national academies support suggest on the order magnitude of 25% to 30% reductions are available still.
in the states that have pursued as a policy matter all cost effective energy efficiency they are taking down decreases in total demand at the level of 3% a year. together with other distributed energy resources like demand response, which pjm has provided as high in some years 12,000 megawatts of resources, meaning that's 12,000 megawatts of power plants you don't need in certain instances and are really exciting. i think three things about distributing energy resources in addition to bringing down the numbers of megawatts. they provide the flexibility, the resource flexibility to integrate the high penetrations of this lowest cost renewable energy potential that you describe. and they can provide the flexibility. and finally, they are a great resilience resource. if you think about the storage during hurricane sandy when
microgrids were able to island themselves and continue to provide power at hospitals and fire stations, that's a real opportunity on the resilience side. so i think that the potential is just tremendous and that's where we should start. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, senator smith. >> senator capato. >> thank you, madame chair. thank the panel. this is obviously very interest to me being the other senator from west virginia. and coal obviously very important part of our not just our economy but as senator manchin said very proud of the history of energy production that we've had in our state. we also have the marseilles -- marcellus shale development, which is very exciting. just a quick question, mr. ott, mr. van -- if i say your name, van welie, did i get it right? okay, mr. ott, he mentioned how many retiring nuclear and coal plants are going to be in his area. what does that figure for pjm in 2020, say? >> pjm we have one nuclear station 620 megawatt nuclear station scheduled to retire coming up before 2020.
as far as coal plants, we've experienced like 20,000 megawatts of coal plants retiring previously for the next few years we're looking probably in the 4,000 range of announced. certainly there could be more. >> which is 17 different units, that's what i have here? >> yeah, about in that realm. but, again, some of them have not formally announced. some are formally. there are some that are having concerns financially. but as far as formally announcing it's a bit less than. >> so at peak load during the cold snap, natural gas generators provided only 48% of what you had predicted, i think it was going to and coal overtook that, is that correct? could you talk about that a little bit. >> yes. certainly in pjm what we saw was the coal during the recent cold snap we saw more coal production than normal. i think it was an economic displacement, gas price went up, and therefore
dispatched down, coal came on at a higher level. so certainly we saw a lot more coal production, coal fired production, if you will, than we normally would in that cold snap. >> and can you help me, too, maybe chairman mcintyre can help me with this, the pricing of natural gas, spot prices, spiked up to an all-time high during this time, maybe 60 times their normal price. is that -- do you know that, chairman? >> i don't know if it was an all-time high. i know we did experience significant price increases. and as i mentioned earlier, that's the kind of thing that can in a broad sense be helpful. it's important that we have market signals that reflect shortages including in this case. short-term spikes in demand since proper signals both to providers of the resource and consumers. >> mr. van welie, do you have more comment? >> i want to affirm what you just said. the price has gone up into the hundred dollar range. if you look at the pipes constrained in the $2 to $3 range from an mbdu.
>> that gets me to another issue that we sort of talked around, but certainly in the new england area the accessibility to natural gas and the permitting with pipelines, i mean, we're having difficulty even the state of west virginia sometimes permitting our pipelines, certainly the chairwoman can speak about this as well. you know, new england doesn't seem to have the appetite to permit the pipelines so i'm reading in the financial times that says gas from russia, arctic, is going to warm homes in boston. and there's lng coming from russia. we have a natural resource in my home state and region that would love to be selling our natural gas in this country and to the northeast. so how do you respond to that? >> well, i think the first problem in new england is to find a customer for gas pipeline. so i think the structural issue is that there's no customer prepared to sign the long-term contract to have the pipelines
built. the second issue is once you have a customer, then you have to confront the citing issue and i would say there's a citing issue in new england and new york. so for us to move the gas from the marcellus shale into new england, you'd have to overcome those two on obstacles. i think the policy decision for the region do policymakers want to make those investments to relieve the constraints or live with the constraints and work around them? if you're going to work around the constraints, then you either have to turn to alternative fuels like oil or lng, and then in that sense the jones act doesn't make a lot of sense to me because we're importing lng from faraway places when we're exporting it from terminals a few hundred miles south of us. >> so with the russian lng that's come in, obviously they already have a customer that's purchasing this because the supplies got so low during the bomb cyclone, is that correct? >> yeah. so what happens if a dynamic is when the lng inventory of the gas supply drops, you know,
below certain levels, customers in the gas markets, local distribution companies for example, will start calling for spot gas supplies. >> right. >> and so you get contracting happening in the world markets for lng. >> so interesting to me from another perspective is while that's occurring, the russian gas coming here, we have two cargo vessels going with lng to from our southern ports or louisiana into europe to try to help them meet their challenge. i mean, if we're looking at an overall system here, from cost, from emissions and all kinds of things, that doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense to me. >> it doesn't make a lot of sense to me either. >> thank you. >> and our job is to make sense of all of this. let's go to senator king. >> i hate to follow the admonition to make sense. makes it difficult. mr. van welie, very much enjoy seeing you. i remember meeting with you in 2013 about this very issue.
and first, madame chair, i love this panel. we should take them with us everywhere. you all have done a really good job of illustrating a lot of issues, important issues in a brief time. i do want to promote something for the audience and anybody interested in these issues and it is an app called iso to go produced by iso. and it gives you moment-to-moment prices all over new england where the demand occur. by the way, mr. van welie, the demand is exceeding the forecast at this moment by about half a megawatt, you may want to call your office when we finish here. but it also gives where all the resources are, renewables, oil, gas, coal and nuclear. very, very useful. thank you for this. it's incredibly helpful. now, i want to put up some visuals.
i learn visually to what we've been talking about here today. the bottom red line on this chart is the marcellus shale cost in the region, around in pennsylvania, going back to the beginning of december. the blue line is the cost in new england. so what this tells us is it's not a gas, it's not a natural gas price problem, it's a delivery problem. and that's what we've been talking about today. it's the infrastructure problem we've been talking about. the problem with the infrastructure is does anybody want to build a $2 billion or $3 billion pipeline to deal with this, if it's not going to be necessary the rest of the year? and that's where we get into the trade-offs between storage and lng as an option and building the infrastructure. i just want to indicate how these things all interrelate. the other piece is the relationship between what we just saw, which is natural gas prices and electricity.
almost entire straightforward correlation as you see. and this goes back, this goes back 15 years. hurricanes hit the gulf, gas goes up, electricity in new england goes up. same thing over the winter of 2014, the polar vortex. and we're up in this area i saw $32 megawatt hour recently. so these things are all interrelated. one of my favorite comments was from a friend of mine in maine who said there is rarely a silver bullet. there's often silver buckshot. and that's what we're talking about here is a multiplicity of resources. and miss clements, you talked about efficiency, the cheapest kilowatt hour is the one you never use. we have efficiency, we have renewables, we have demand response, we have storage, we have infrastructure, we have rate structure, mr. mcintyre, we
have rate structure which will influence how we use power in terms of efficiency during the day. i realize i'm making a speech here. if you can find a question in here, you're welcome to it. mr. van welie, talk to me about this. how we deal with this, let's make it specific, do we build a pipeline or do we do more storage? >> so i think it's going to come down to what policymakers decide to do. i think there's two parallel tracks in terms of this conversation in new england. the one track that we're going to be in the lead on is how do we make sure that the constraint is appropriately priced in the market because to chairman mcintyre's point, unless we price that constraint, we're not going to get the reliability we seek. and i think we learn some things over the past few weeks that make us think that we still have
a lot of work to do. i think the parallel discussion is how to relieve these constraints and so to miss clements point, i agree one tool in the tool box, you may have missed in our analysis but we take into account and project forward all the energy efficiency efforts that the states are making. and the new england states have made significant efforts. i think they lead the nation now in terms of energy efficiency. but i think the evolution is occurring faster than what the states are doing with regard to these efficiency investments. and my fear is that the retirements will happen more quickly than these investments will be made. and the other thing i look out -- >> one of the problems -- one of the problems i see here is gas is the cheapest capital cost. and yet you're taking the price risk. and that's one of the trade-offs, but the way our system is working now everyone's looking for low rates next year and the year after and we don't have long-term 15-year power purchase agreements that will support the capital investment necessary for some of the other options. >> yes, i think the peakingness of the demand for this fuel is the issue. and i think we're going to be
stuck with this problem for a long time because if you think about where the region is going, in the long run we want to take carbon out of transportation and heating, which means we're going to drive the demand for wholesale up in the region. over time we're going to have less utilization of the pipeline, but when you need it, you're going to really need it in a big way. you can offset some of that through electric storage, but our issue is really seasonal storage. so i think the region needs to work through the various possibilities and understand what the cost benefit trade -- >> and you're talking about grid level storage, but it's hard to justify the cost of grid level storage if you only need it two weeks of the year, correct? >> exactly. and grid level storage in terms of today's technologies are not very useful in a multiday multiweek event. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you. >> senator danes. >> thank you, chairman murkowski, ranking member cantwell. seems each summer and energy demands peak, we're reminded of
the one of those northern states, montana, we respect terms like polar vortex and bomb cyclones, of course in montana we call that january. but that's the way it goes. in the importance of keeping supply on hand to keep the lights on and the infrastructure necessary to support that system this winter has been no different, this hearing is timely as my office is kicking off planning efforts for our montana energy summit. we do this every couple years. it will be in billings in may. we've invited ferc chairman kevin mcintyre to attend, secretary perry and others. we hope to have important conversations related to energy infrastructure and the jobs energy creates in our states. we hope that you can both attend. as you've probably heard me say more than you want to, one critical piece of our energy infrastructure in montana and across the pacific northwest is the gold strip power plant,
supports about 750 direct jobs, generates enough power for about 1.7 million homes and businesses across montana and the pacific northwest. through heavy handed regulations, litigation and some state policies, the future of this plant is actually at risk. i was out there a couple years ago on a visit that's memorable to me. they were taking boilers down for maintenance. it was july. and i walked in and they were scrambling, the plant management up since early, early morning middle of the night. said what's the problem? he says, well, here's the problem. said we have tremendous balanced energy portfolio in montana, we're truly an all of the above state, we're developing renewables, we have great hydro resources and wind resources. but this high pressure system moved in to the northwest. and when high pressure systems move in, what happens? well, temperature goes up and the wind stops blowing. and because they had coal strip
down -- one of the major units down for boiler maintenance, we were struggling to keep up with baseload at that moment because the wind stopped blowing. and we refer to wind as intermittent power, and it's not a critique of that renewable source of energy, but we still have to solve the storage issue with wind to make it a more reliable part of our energy portfolio. we just came back from taiwan last year when it was september, if you remember what happened in taiwan in august, they lost electricity to about half the homes across taiwan. it was a major outage. and why? because they were too aggressively going forward on eliminating nuclear energy from their balanced portfolio, they had a plant that was ready to go back 2014 was battling some of the regulatory issues to get up and running. and with that peak load, a hot day in august, they lost their base load. i understand that while a lot of coal fired generation is retired in recent years, new england had
to rely on existing coal and oil fire generation for this winter event. and as more states, energy mixes are changing towards more renewable generation due to policies and so forth, i remain convinced that we must find ways to keep diverse truly all the above energy mix in this nation especially during these peak times of load. my question for mr. walker, in your experience, how important is it to keep a diverse energy portfolio at all times, but especially during peak load? >> thank you for the question, senator. i believe it's extremely important. and it's not only during peak load. i think it's throughout the year. you know, importantly, the diversity of the load provides the opportunity for us to build resiliency into the model. with the threats we have today, with cyber and physical security, which are very real, they're emerging, they're evolving, they're increasing and the impact of these could be very significant in the country.
so as we look at the portfolio of generation sources that we have, the diversity component is extremely important. and as we work with the rtos and with ferc to evaluate the proposal set forth by ferc, those are things we will identify and look at. i mentioned earlier on page 86 of the staff report, there's a diagram that illustrates the different capabilities of just different generation sources. things that provide for the base load, the essential reliability services of each of the different types of generators. so as you look at this, it's like an optimization equation. when you look at all the different variables and you look at what the underlying goal is, which is to provide safe, reliable and resilient grid, it's about optimizing the generation components that we have as well as the underlying systems that tie into those generation sources to be able to get and achieve the reliability and resilience we need to.
>> last comment and i know i'm out of time. my training was in engineering, so when i tell a quick little story about engineering, this is not meant to be disparaging because i is one, but i was in a debate one time about -- i was running operations for proctor & gamble and the variation in demand and so forth need to be able to have capacity available to cover spikes. and we believe need to be over here and engineers were off in their ivory tower doing some calculations and thankfully we had a senior executive that was kind of listening to this hatfield and mccoy and stepped back. said first i believe operation folks because they deal with reality, but two, if engineer were to design amount of beds needed for family of three, in terms of capacity, they'd say you only need one bed because on average everybody sleeps eight hours a day. something to think about as we relate to peak capacity. thank you. >> thank you, senator danes. >> senator danes can get away with that because he is an engineer.
unfortunately, i am too. it's a curse. sometimes a blessing. i wanted to start out and talk a little bit about that term base load power because we hear a lot more of it today than we do 10 or 15 years ago and i find that fascinating. i grew up with a utility family where my dad was a lineman when i was young, he was a manager later. those were the days when coal and nuclear and hydro were the only games in town. but i bring that up because i think base load oftentimes today is more of a political term than an engineering term. and it tends to come up oftentimes at times when it's trying to subsidize generation that is no longer competitive in the marketplace. i would just point out that when those coal fired generators go down, they are providing and oftentimes that's unplanned maintenance. and it's not unusual.
they're providing zero base load megawatts to the grid. and we need to find ways today to think about our grid and meet supply and demand together. and know what the weather's going to be tomorrow and the next day so that we can match those things up from whatever generation sources we're using. i want to go to mr. walker first because you said something to senator manchin. i don't want to misquote you. i want to understand if i understood you correctly. that inherently coal at a coal generating station is less exposed to the threats of physical or cyber threat to the grid than say oil and gas pipelines. and the reason why i bring that up is because from my perspective, once you use that coal to generate, you have to get it to the customer. you have to do that over transmission lines and then distribution lines. and it seems to me that all of these infrastructures are equally exposed to those threats.
you have the same skait systems at substations and relating to transmission and distribution on the electric grid that you would use in pipelines. you have the same physical threats to both of those distribution networks. so i don't see the difference in terms of exposure in terms of critical infrastructure. am i missing something? >> no, it's a fair question. and i'll be -- so what you heard me say, what you reiterated is what i do believe. and from, you know, the perspective that we're taking skprks i'm taking right now is d.o.e. is focused on protecting critical national infrastructure. and, you know, as ferc deals with the marketplace and when we focus in on the resiliency, the capability that provides that safety and resilience in the grid, if i have a stockpile of coal in this instance at a location for sufficient period
of time, i'm not placing at risk the infrastructure as it were natural gas. >> what if that coal is too frozen or too wet to actually burn? >> and those are possibilities that we realize during the polar vortex. and i think through much of the work that was done after the polar vortex, provisions have been placed at the utilities and the generation plants that utilize things like coal to prevent, you know, through weatherization techniques and things like that. >> so when i think of the polar vortex or even in latest bomb cyclone if i'm getting that term correct, the unsung hero that i think about that gets very little attention is actually demand response. and so i'd be curious from the folks at pjm and iso new england, you know, how important is demand response at this point in these sorts of events? and has a market been fully implemented? and are there federal policies
in place that assure that demand response is allowed to compete as effectively as possible in these kinds of events? >> so a market has been fully developed for demand response. we speak of demand resources broadly in new england. and i say there are two categories, one is passive, demand resources like energy efficiency. and that's very well developed in new england because of all the state programs supporting that investment. the active demand response, which is active reduction during system events and so forth, we have lower penetration in new england but the market exists. i think the issue has been the economics. it's not competitive in the market relative to some of the other resources. if you'd give me a minute, i just wanted to reinforce something else you said as well. i think there's a policy
conundrum here with regard to this discussion between fuel diversity and fuel security. because it are requires a d different orgistration on the markets, and whereas with the markets, you u are trying to compare a market to come forward to produce the reliability service which is why you don't hear us using the term field diversity, but field security. >> correct. >> thank you. senator cassidy? >> thank you. gentlemen, i'm going to refer to some testimony we with actually had in june of 2016 from a fellow jonathan perez who's the director of air policy environmental defense fund and it was a very good hearing last time which i'll raise questions from that.
mr. mcintyre, seeing there's this price spike in fuel cost, it was spot price going far higher in the northeast, this gentleman last year said that there was actually a lot of unused capacity in our northeast pipeline system and that ferc was working to add flexibility to the schedule and to better use that capacity. do you agree that's an assertion from two years ago, do you agree with that assertion and has ferc now worked to add flexibility in terms of delivering of gas? >> i know that we've worked on reforms in the market structures and practices and schedules in the interrelationship between natural gas, pipelines which we regulate and electric transmission which of course is critical to gaining the power from where its generated to where its consumed. >> i think you're speaking of
the gas that at times that only the 54% was used in the polar vortex. is that an issue or has that been addressed specifically? >> we do have as you heard i think most -- >> i had to step out i'm sorry if i missed something. >> mr. van welie has presented the situation in new england and that is where indeed we have ongoing long-term challenges in transportation infrastructure. >> is that related to lack of efficient use of current capacity and i'm sure it's not either/or or is it due to lack of capacity, sir? >> in new england it's lack of capacity at this point. >> this gentleman made again the point and it was very provocative that if you look at the lack of capacity, it was only like two weeks out of the year in which there was lack of capacity and his point it's cheaper to pay hot prices on those two weeks out of the year as opposed to pay for the
infrastructure that would remain unused for the rest of the year. >> i think it depends on the one's view of the cost and benefits. there's a point beyond which we will maintain the supply/demand balance by taking demand off the system. that's the tradeoff. one could look at it and say it's not worth making an investment in the pipeline infrastructure because we only use it 3 months a year, let's say. the incremental capacity. you have to weigh that against the other consequences as well. we show we're very close to the edge in new england and we need to find a way of relieving this constraint one way or another, either through investment in the pipeline infrastructure or continued investments in other sources of energy that will take the pressure of the gas pipeline and or reducing demand on the system. those are the three avenues available to the region. they have different implications with regard to cost. >> so importation of l & g would not be adequate for those two to
four weeks a year in which you're constrained? >> if you are are looking at the reports of l & g and the studies today, we are going to become much more dependent than today on imports of l & g. market monitor has raised another question which is there are two suppliers of energy into the region one of which is in boston, the other is in new brunswick, canada. there are pivotal supplies into the marketplace. one you'd inspect to pay very high prices for natural gas and i think the policy tradeoff is do you want to pay these high prices on an episodic basis whenever it gets cold or do you want to soften those economics by investing in infrastructure that will relieve those constraints. >> to the gentleman's point and i don't want to belabor, but the pipelines are so expensive
particularly greenfield inves t investment that it's actually cheap ter do the episodic price than it is to do the infrastructure? he's not here to make his point directly but it sounds almost like you're disagreeing with that. >> i think that the region needs to work through those cost benefit tradeoffs. >> okay. i yield back. thank you. >> thank you, senator. senator duckworth. >> thank you for convening this very important conversation. unfortunately my two colleagues engineering colleagues are not here but i just wanted to remind them that multiple people sharing the same bed in the united states navy is called hot racking, and there there are young sailors, submariners who are doing it right now in order to defend our nation and so let's say a quiet prayer for them and what they're able to put up in order to keep us safe. i want to go back to the work the states have been doing for renewable energy.
illinois, my home state has made tremendous gains in this area and in addition to requiring 25% renewable energy by 2025, we also prioritize investments in jobs training programs that are focused on low income individuals to create thousands of clean energy jobs and these investments will help make our grid more reliable and more resilient, not less while also creating jobs. ms. clemens in your opinion how will the renewable energy impact the power system in the context of the extreme weather events. >> thank you, senator. i think the recent illinois energy act is one of the great examples of the smart way that states are leaning in to this energy transition and saying we are going to use american ingenuity to harness the resources that we have and to create economic opportunity and jobs from making the grid more resilient and reliable, by increasing the diversity of the resources on the system through increased wind and solar and through increasing energy efficiency, it is increasing resource diversity at this point nationally only about 7% of the
resource mix is nonhydro renewables. when you think about the characteristics, every kind of resource has a set of benefits and issues that we've just been talking about and so narrowing the conversation to just gas versus coal and l & g versus new pipelines is an overly narrow view. the wholesale markets have done a good job of what they've intended to do which is to provide low cost reliable energy. as the mix changes and as states like illinois take these exciting actions, the markets are going to have to start valuing things like resource flexibility that the illinois act is going to bring in through new distributed energy resources and that's exciting but when with we're talking about price formation in the markets, let's not forget that we can't undervalue the benefits that the renewable energy resources and
the distributed energy resources and energy efficiency are also bringing to the table. so when they're overperforming and providing extra services to the grid they should be getting paid for those services. i think illinois, along with minnesota and hawaii and new york and california are just -- showing the way that other states can look to as an example. >> thank you. could you speak a little bit to the cost of the renewables during extreme weather events and how did it compare to other fuels? >> well, in a marginal cost basis, the beauty of renewable is that the wind and the sun are free and so they were able to help by -- wind specifically in the polar vortex and we're still getting the information from the bomb cyclone. what they -- the role that wind particularly served was to help avoid those price spikes by overperforming at low marginal cost. >> thank you. in every tragedy there is some
opportunity and even though four months have passed since hurricane maria made landfall, the lack of electricity, running waters and reliable communications remain a central challenge to puerto rico and i'm committed to developing an advancing policy that will enable the island to remain operational during the next super storm so i would like to see in puerto rico some investments made so they're not put in the same place that they were in before maria hit. ms. clemens, in your opinion will policy that helps stimulate solar and batteries be useful in this endeavor to better position them for the next storm? we know with global warming they're going to get hit again. >> thanks for the question. absolutely. just as of yesterday 32% of puerto rico's customers remained without power so that's all of october, november, december and now most of january. and the government also announced that they're
considering privatizing the utility. that might help in and of itself with credit worthiness and bringing in the expertise that can provide that innovative new model grid. anything that congress can do to provide those incentives to help get that solar and get that energy storage online in puerto rico is critical and will, you know, facilitate a model that per the national academy recommendations can serve as a best practice which then can be shared with other states and regions within the continental u.s. >> thank you and i look forward to working with members of this committee and securing legislation will help us achieve these goals. thank you, madam chair. >> thank you. >> i have two questions for each you that relates to the bomb cyclone but certainly the capacity and reliability, one goes back to question senator danes was getting at, how do we have enough base load power for those types of events so we're ready.
one how do we make sure we have enough base load power? number two, how are we going to build the transmission and the pipelines to make sure that we have an adequate distribution system? we're running into incredible difficulties building any type of pipeline for oil or gas and also we're running into the same kind of problems with transmissions. it's actually whether you're a fan of traditional renewable energy, we're running into the problem of building enough infrastructure and i can cite examples to you including most recently dakota access pipeline in our state which now moves half a million of barrels of oil a day to east coast refineries that need our lighting sweet crude and if they don't get it from us they get it from saudi arabia and i'd rather they got it from north dakota. so you could each take a swing at it. those two issues. how do we make sure we have enough base load power? how are we going to have people that support this to have the reliability we want?
>> chairman, do you want to lead the effort here? >> why not. thank you for the question. as to base load as was pointed out it's a term that means different things to different people these days. i think of it as the big large scale power plants that are intention a ally designed to run 24/7 essentially and that is changing as technology changes and the economics of the market change. to answer your question how do we ensure we have enough of it? we ensure we have the right market structures in place that compensate those resources, compensate them appropriately. second you raised the question, the difficulty of getting sufficient new energy infrastructure built. i fully share that concern. it's unquestionably a problem. we have to look at ways to mend and improve our permanent permitting processes so that we
can get over some of these obstacles. >> okay. mr. walker. >> thank you. with regard to the base load, one of the things i learned as an electrical engineer is that we are not very creative. so we name things for exactly what they do and base load referred basically to the bottom of the stack, the economic stack and for what was going to meet the base requirements of load. i think that as the chairman recognized, i think recognizing them from a market standpoint and placing value on things like the central reliability services as part of the economics will help drive that. i think also in recognizing and taking a different perspective and looking at it from a resiliency standpoint there are values that will not be captured in the economic component that have value to the economic and value to the united states. i think those in conjunction with the work that ferc does needs to be integrated together to help drive the investment. and then once we've identified
those critical components that are both valuable to the market from an economic standpoint to drive cost down and valuable from a physical and cybersecurity perspective to ensure the national security, we blend those together to help work through the processes, we work with the states and local components of the united states municipal governments to work through these issues as does ferc and i think with the proper data, the proper analysis and the evaluation that really identifies the right locations, we'll work through the process and get them in. >> i like your pin. >> thank you. i got it from northcom. >> good job. glad to see you're wearing it. charles? >> thank you. >> do pronounce it for me, though. >> berardesco. >> thank you. >> nerc has identified -- we are in the middle of a significant transformation of our system and
having that fuel diversity is what's going to allow us to have the reliable operations and i tend to move away from terms like base load or other kinds of adjectives and simply talk about the different generations provides different risks attached to it. so the policy makers need to consider what's the appropriate mix of that kind of generation that's going to give you the best risk outcome for operating your system in a local area. but what's really important to us as we move to an environment where we are more and more thinking about renewables as part of our mix is the stability of the power system behind it. that system is critical in order for renewables to be attractive to people because to the extent there is no wind or no sun you're drawing power from the grid. and so having the grid operating reliably is critical to the success of renewables being inserted into our system, and we need to really consider carefully what are the
attributes that different generations provide to that stability of that system and in making sure that everyone is fairly contributing to that stability of the system from each of the different generation portfolios. i'm not much of an expert on transmission citing or incentives, just listening to the testimony here today, it seems obvious to me if you're going to move particularly in the case of gas generation, if you're going to move to more gas generation as being part of whether it's a bridge to a more renewable based system or simply part of the basic power structure, you're going to need more capacity. we're hearing that testimony today. providing some types of incentives that get better capacity for gas seems to be a fairly important consideration for policy makers going forward. >> you got to get support for citing it. ms. clements? >> thank you. i'd echo the description of base load as an operating characteristic as a sum subset of power plants and that we are
going to as we move forward able to move away from that particular characteristic as the primary goal, however the sheer number of mega watts that resources provide on the system is important and we've got lots of power. the country across the country, planning reserve margins are very strong so from in general, how do we have enough -- there's already lots there. >> so go to the infrastructure piece then, if you have the power you got to get it to where you need it. >> absolutely. this is an opportunity for the committee to have real bipartisan work together on a well designed policy to build out transmission lines to support the movement of wind from the places to the cities that need it and from the sun from the sunny places. that development has to be up held and has to be done carefully but it can be done well. >> it has to uphold environmental protections. but you got to build it. you can't take ten years to build a transmission line or a
pipeline. mr. ott. >> thank you. i'll be brief given the time. essentially for the base load resource it's really the reliability characteristics you're looking for to run the power grid and making sure those are appropriately compensated as the chairman indicated and certainly i think that we have a track record in the capacity of our -- that those have been effective in targeting performance resources. the polar vortex lessons learned was a success story. we can do some things in the energy market to address some of the concerns i raised. as far as infrastructure, i do believe rto regional planning processes have been successful in getting a lot of infrastructure built. certainly pgm $20 billion worth of transmission investment. as far as gas pipeline infrastructure, i see that as an issue. he we do need to figure out a way to get the citing process
for gas pipelines moving. >> and it's really changed from this battle between renewable to traditional to both have the commonality in this interest of getting approval for construction of this infrastructure. we should be working together. >> agreed. >> sir? >> i'd say base load is rapidly becoming an obsolete term because i think -- i think of base load as what's reducing energy with the minimum price and i think that has changed over the years. we've come from a world where we had coal and nuclear and we now with gas and renewables going forward. so i think if i look at the problem, i think we've got structures in place to ensure is that we've got enough resource on the system. we've got structures in place through the transmission planning authorities that the rto has with ferc oversight. citing is a problem. i think the big regulatory gap, the structural problem is when we restructured the markets 20 years ago we didn't understand
the dependence that would be created on the gas system so we have a gas system where the business model is completely different from the electric system in the restructured markets so that leads to situation where you don't have a customer for the incremental pipeline investments needed to serve the gas generation. i think that's a problem we're going to struggle with for a while. >> it is a problem. madam chairwoman, thank you for your indulgence. i poll -- u i apologize for going well over. >> this is exactly what this -- this committee hearing was designed to dig in to was these questions. >> when you say well, you mean qualitatively or quantitatively. >> both. both. these are questions that are very important and the records the answer's on the records are equally important, so well done, sir. senator cortez-masto. >> thank you. i appreciate that as well, the comments and the conversation we're having today is so important and thank you and thank you to the chairman as well.
mr. mcintyre, good to see you again, let me start with you. when you were before the committee for your nomination hearing we briefly discussed integrating renewable energy into the power grid and in nevada we actually have an energy bill of rights that allows consumers to generate, export and store renewable energy on their property and so mr. mcintyre, do you believe there are additional actions that ferc can take to allow distributed energy resources access to wholesale electricity markets? >> there may well be, senator. thank you for the question. there is already a lot of work that has been undertaken within the commission prior to my arrival and we have a record of materials that have been submitted to address this very question, that is part of the work that remains before me personally and before the commission as well. it's very important issue, and it's something we're going to turn our attention to in due course. >> i know in late 2016 ferc
issued a proposed rule that would eliminate barriers to the participation of renewable energy in the wholesale markets. what's the status of that effort? >> that's precisely the work that i was referring to. >> is there a time frame or do you have a sense of how -- >> it's something that will be -- we'll be turning to in the coming months. i don't have a specific calendar in mind for it. >> okay, okay. mr. berardesco, in your testimony you provide a number of key findings and recommendations on how to increase resiliency for cold weather, but i'm curious, do you have any recommendations for extreme heat. in nevada it can get up to 115 degrees in the summer. >> i don't off the top of my head, but i can get back to you. >> thank you. ms. clements, one of your recommendations is to ensure that resilience efforts focus on protecting vulnerable communities. what exactly could be done to better protect vulnerable communities?
can you elaborate a little bit more on that? >> sure. first of all, let's remember that there are a lot of institutions involved in protecting communities in the e the event that something very bad happens like a hurricane or a drought or some other kind can of ostorm, and critical services like hospitals and fire stations and police stations and shelters and food banks need support in order to figure tout plans in how they will handle emergencies. a lot of this is subject to state and local jurisdiction. what we recommend is that congress provide funding and support and field disseminations and best practices so that we can try this. we can support the local communities and help to share that information and socialize those best practices by reaching across the country. >> thank you. and mr. walker, i know my colleague from illinois talked a
little bit about this, puerto rico, and the devastation there and the work that's being done to modernize their electric grid. i just saw a report that notes that d.o.e.'s long-term plan for puerto rico is to begin with new microgrid power installations at three manufacturing sites on the island. can you elaborate a little bit more on the long-term plan? >> sure. that project actually is not a d.o.e. project. it's a pridco which the puerto rico industrial development corporation owns about 200 pieces of property on the island of puerto rico. >> okay. >> as the industrial development corporation, they own the property and they lease it back, so -- back to customers, customers like johnson & johnson, honeywell. so we've been working very closely with them and their staff and the puerto rican government to give them technical expertise with regard
to how to site these microgrids at various locations on the island to ensure better power quality for these bigger manufacturing customers and in an effort to reduce their energy costs to encourage them to stale on the island and further expand their employment opportunities for people in puerto rico. >> anything else you're doing to address their energy needs? >> we're working with all the stakeholders that put together plans and integrating and instilling them down into one so it's a better document and we're adding whatever technical capabilities we've got to do that, just yesterday i met and my team met with the tac committee, the technical advisory committee that was put together by prepa to coordinate our efforts and walk through what our plan is going to be moving forward. >> okay. thank you, thank you, all. thank you, senator. and secretary walker thank you
for your efforts puerto rico and all that's going on. i appreciate the opportunity that we had when we were over there to have that following conversation. obviously great deal more to be done but appreciate your ongoing efforts. several members have commented that about the quality the of the witnesses that we've had this morning and the discussion. one of the benefits of holding the gavel here is i get to stay for the full morning and it has been as important and i think enlightening in certain areas as any hearing that we've had in a while. so i thank you for that. i hear from most of you here that, okay, we're beyond the discussion about base load power and how we define it and i forget which of you referred to the policy conundrum between
diversity versus security and i think it's often very easy to say we need to have this diverse portfolio but if the diversity doesn't give you the security of access to you fail when it comes to your resiliency. you fail in terms of your ability to really meet the expectation there and so i think it's important that as we -- as we talk about these very serious challenges that we see as you've got a grid that is evolving and changing and aging and how we do a better job with the
integration of all of this that we keep in mind this distinction between diversity and security and recognize that that has to be part of our issue. we've heard several colleagues state that we can have all the supply that we need but if we can't move it doesn't get us anywhere and i think alaska is a poster child for that. we have extraordinary resources but our challenge has always been moving that to the market. so i really do appreciate so much of what we have heard here today. you'll notice that i have deferred my questions holding them until the end so i don't have the clock running with me and i don't want to keep you all too long but i do feel like i can bat cleanup a little bit. let me begin with you, chairman, and again i appreciate all that you're doing within the commission there. i don't know if it's fair to ask you your personal opinion but i
will ask you your personal opinion about what you believe the risk to the grid presented by the ongoing retirements that we're seeing in nuclear with r nuclear with coal retirements and just for purposes of conversation here, if you've got a scale of one to ten with ten being the most severe risk to the grid, where do you put us? >> thank you, madam chairman, for the question. quantification is an inherently tricky business, and i feel so particularly here, but i can tell you, conceptually that we're probably clearly at a five. i say that on the basis just of what we know today of the resilience, challenges that have presented themselves in prior weather events and other circumstances, and i say that
because of the potential irreversiblity of the situation of unit retirements and individual unit retirement of a particularly sizeable plant is of a serious model to the grid let alone an entire class of power plants. so it's something that as of today, i'd say merits a five, ranking on your scale, but i will have a better informed personal opinion after weave heard from the rtos and rsos about what specific needs they see and concerns they have. >> let me ask you about that because you -- the ferc really has kicked that to the rtos and the isos to define what the concerns are with regards to resiliency. i guess the question is are they the best to -- are they the best
organizations to make that assessment or that determination? what about the eros, the electricity reliability organizations, whether it's merc and various regional entities and what about d.o.e.? how do all of the others factor into this. i think we recognize that the rtos and the isos, you don't own the grid. you do have owners of the grid. i -- i understand why ferc moved forward as you did in rejecting the nopra, and i understand, i think, where you're trying to go with gathering this assessment back, but does it need to be broader, i guess is my question, than just the rtos and rsos? >> i'm happy to say, madam chairman, it is broader.
>> okay. >> the most immediate and directed request was to the rtos and i is to report back in answers questions, but we have invited broader stakeholder input and we've originated it and good communications already with mr. walker's organization and department and nerc and i would expect that to continue in addition to hearing from other stakeholders, as well and it is beyond the rtos. well, i appreciate that ask do feel that that is an important part of any analysis that might move forward. assistant secretary walker, you spoke to just cooperation and collaboration that needs to go on. i think you said it's going to take unprecedented collaboration to keep the lights on or something to that effect. >> that's correct.
and to that end, the resiliency model that you have indicated as a top pray orit fpriority for d. have you or your staff reached out to ferc's reliability or security staff or been working with the rtos on this. tell me what you're going to do -- >> sure. that's a good question. i do believe it does and will take a significant amount of collaboration and chairman mcintyre, i've spoken about this with regard to this model. yesterday i had the opportunity to meet with gordon on the table here with regard to the new england study. my team back at d.o.e. has reached out and gone through looking toward integrating all of the work that ferc's initiative will yield, and so we
work pretty regularly within d.o.e. and with the isos and the rtos and as well as through the electricity sector or coordinating counsel. we reached back throughout the united states and with nerc and with all of the partners that we've got there. in this case it's even bigger than the electric side and it's really where the nec really the nexus to bring together. we have two separate coordinating councils that we're looking to bring together under this rubrick because of the interdependency of the natural gas and electric system. we've laid out a schedule of all of those participants that we need to pull together to work with ferc, nerc and the regional rtos in an effort to ensure that we have the best answer we can, and that's the essence and where this model comes from. once we've got all of the information and we then can take
the actual technical components of the system which we already have, we've started gathering that and that was part of the reason why i was out at northcom with my team last week is starting to define the resiliency work that's started to be done at the department of defense and with the army corps. that's why there was a specific reason to be there. we started that initiative to gather all of the components that we've got around. in fact, yesterday, i met with d.o.e. security organization to identify work that's been done for resilience at the nuclear power plants and through our nsa groups and to be able to coordinate that and provide that information effectively to ferc as we progress this forward. so we're very much in lockstep with this moving forward because it is so critically important to the national security components that we address day to day and we can dovetail back into the marketplace to solve a lot of these issues. >> that's good to know.
because this is exactly what we need. it's good to know that there's reports and there's analysis, but if we're not -- if we're not really coordinating and learning from other entities and what they have done or how they have advanced, it -- it is not as valuable, i think, as we would hope. >> let me ask another question of you, chairman mcintyre because there's been discussion about price formation and making sure that -- that that value is in place. i guess the quick question is how prompt will ferc be when it says that it will act promptly, and it sees a need to take action, and i raise this because ferc opened up its price formation dockets just after the polar vortex.
and a couple of months into early 2014 that work still hasn't been completed on price formation. so i think what would be important to know is -- is given the reality of time that it takes, when you say ferc will take prompt action does this mean that its technical conferences or staff memos and white papers and what actually can be expected, and we know that oftentimes this is complicated and lengthy, but we also speak frequently about this paralysis of analysis, and the situation of this review and
ensuring reliability. i raised it eight years ago, maybe even longer now since i have raised these concerns and we continue to see growing levels of retirements, so we recognize that we need to move beyond technical conferences and more white papers that we actually need to see that action. so can you speak to -- >> yes, madam chair. it's a very valid question, and certainly when i was in the private sector i shared those occasional frustrations, as well. and the greater resilience initiative. there was a certain calendar spelled out there 60 days first for the rtos and i so as to get back to us with their responses to our specific questions. 30 days for stakeholder input
thereafter and then, yes, our commitment to prompt action thereafter. i cannot say now how much time will be involved in prompt action because it will depend on the quality of the information which we get back which i think would be very good in general, but it's something where i have declared it and our order declares it that it's an order and those aren't words we utter very often as a declared priority of the commission to get this into speed, and i should say that in the meantime, we have stated, as well, in the very same order that should any short-term concerns arise within a given rto or with a given utility we want to know about it immediately. we will not sit ideally ly by. >> i appreciate that you have
been on the other side very recently so that you know not only of the need, but have been one that has been in the situation where you are urging the action. so i think that will help on the inside, as well. >> i think given what members had covered throughout, i had many, many questions and we started and i think we got good information before the committee and so many of the questions that i had had have been have been answered, but i recognize this is -- this is a challenging space most certainly, and we see the challenges pronounced when we have weather events that push
the status quo that we might get too comfortable with and it is a reminder that we need to be vigilant and understand the security and the reliability and the resilience of our energy supply. i mentioned just a few minutes ago that this hearing has probably been the most educational and it's right up there with the one we had several weeks back when we had the head of the iea here, dr. burol who spoke about the energy trends internationally and he had four upheavals. i won't go through all of them, but his fourth upheaval is what is happening with electricity and -- and how -- how that whole sector is being impacted. so we've got a lot of work to do, but this has been a very
instructive and helpful thing to all members. i thank you for your time and with that, we stand adjourned. the congressional republican retreat is this week at the greenbriar resort in west virginia. today vice president mike pence addresses the group. that's live on c-span at 7:15 p.m. eastern, and tomorrow president trump speak to the congressional republicans and that's at 12:45 eastern on our companion network c-span. >> sunday night on "q & a"
author bill james talks about his book "the man from the train" in which he investigates one of the deadliest serial killers in american history. >> many of the crimes happened within a hundred yards of the railroad track and one of the things that helps us identify his crime as opposed to somebody else's is that it usually happens at the intersection of two railroad tracks and it's at the enter section of two railroad tracks presumably -- after he committed his crime he had to get out of town before dawn and he didn't want to be stranded there waiting for a train to come through that he could hop on. so being at the intersection of multiple railroad tracks give him more opportunities to get out of town before the crime was discovered. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q & a." >> c-span's history seary,
landmark cases returns next month with a look at 12 new supreme court cases. each week historians and experts join us to discuss the constitutional issues and personal stories behind these significant supreme court decisions beginning monday, february 26th, live at 9:00 p.m. eastern and to help you better understand each case we have a cam pan onguide written by veteran supreme court journalist tony morrow. landmark cases, volume 2. the book costs $8.95 plus shipping and handling. to order go to c-span.org/landmark cases. >> the office of inspector general late last year identified what it called deficiencies in the food and drug administration's oversight of the food recall process. the house commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigations held a hearing on the issue. officials from both hhs and the fda testified.