Perry defends energy grid study

Perry defends energy grid study
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Energy Secretary Rick Perry defended his department’s study into the reliability of the electric grid on Tuesday, saying the research will ensure the grid “isn’t tossed aside in favor of some political favorites.”

Speaking at an Energy Information Administration conference in Washington, Perry said his goal is to roll back the “political” goals of the Obama administration that he said prioritized renewable energy to such an extent that it put the electric grid at risk. 

“I recognize markets have had a role in the evolution of our energy mix, but no reasonable person can deny the thumb, or even the whole hand, if you will, has been put on the scale in favor of certain political outcomes,” Perry said.  

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“Our plan is to use America’s abundant resources to ensure grid reliability and economic stability.” 

The Energy Department is putting together a study of federal policies related to the reliability of the electric grid. 

The department was due to release the study this week, but it has pushed back that deadline to at least next month. 

Renewable energy groups and advocates have raised concerns that the study will be aimed at diminishing policies that support their fuels. They have released research of their own that they say shows their fuels can contribute to a reliable electric grid. 

Perry acknowledged Tuesday that the study is designed to reassess federal policies on fossil fuels, primarily coal, which has seen its role in the electric sector diminish as the price of natural gas and renewable energy has fallen.

But Perry blamed the decline of coal on federal policies as well.

“These politically driven policies, driven primarily by a hostility to coal, threatened the reliability and the stability of the greatest electrical grid in the world,” he said. 

“It’s not reasonable to rely exclusively on fossil fuels. It’s not feasible to rely exclusively on renewables,” he said.

Perry’s speech to the EIA conference was interrupted twice by protesters who shouted at him about his claim that carbon dioxide is not a “primary control knob” of climate change,” a position out of step with the vast majority of climate researchers. 

Perry at one point responded with “you must be one of those 100 percenters,” echoing a back-and-forth he had with Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenStudy finds misconduct is the top reason CEOs are leaving large companies Hirono electrifies left as Trump antagonist Miss USA pageant winner celebrated for addressing 'Me Too' movement on stage MORE (D-Minn.) last week

“I think it is OK for us to ask questions, for us to be skeptical of information,” Perry said.