When Energy Secretary Rick Perry testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee last month, much of the discussion focused on the Department of Energy’s new directive aimed at enhancing the power grid’s reliability. The secretary repeatedly returned to a single event to justify the rationale behind the directive – the 2014 extreme cold weather caused by the southward shift of the North Polar Vortex.
The gist of his argument was simple and, outwardly at least, intuitive. Those few days of extreme cold across the Atlantic seaboard demonstrated the need to change the way electricity markets operate in order to ensure the resiliency of the grid. The way to accomplish this, Perry argued, is to subsidize the costs of power-generation sources with the ability to store 90 days of fuel on-site so as to prevent supply disruptions.