Maintaining A Reliable Grid Under EPA’s Proposed 111 Rules Restricting Power Plant Emissions

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed “111 rules” restricting greenhouse gas emissions have sparked debate about whether they will create consequences that threaten grid reliability. However, rather than raising new concerns, these objections principally raise issues already facing the power sector. The Inflation Reduction Act has made low-carbon resources including wind, solar, and storage the cheapest new resources in the U.S., but system planners worry we cannot add them fast enough to make up for fossil retirements. New Energy Innovation research details the potential impacts of the EPA rules, investigates their effects on the electricity system, and evaluates potential changes in reliability. We find utilities have ample existing tools to comply with the rules and maintain system reliability.

We also examine six studies that complement EPA’s reliability analysis, finding ample evidence that existing, mature technologies can ensure enough energy and capacity to avoid outages. We survey the landscape of research on operational reliability, finding utilities and system operators have plenty of flexibility to maintain real-time reliability under the rules. Lastly, this report summarizes the 25 major utilities that have already announced plans to transition their systems on a path that would likely comply with the rules.

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