WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) is calling for energy grid resilience and preparedness to be prioritized after a recent severe winter storm left millions in Texas without power due to a structurally incapable, isolated power system.
In a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing today to examine the reliability, resiliency, and affordability of electric service in the U.S., Senator Heinrich pointed out that in the recent Texas freeze, natural gas production fell by 45%. In addition to diversifying energy portfolios, Senator Heinrich is emphasizing the need to learn from these system failures and weatherize power grids in the wake of increasing extreme weather events.
Senator Heinrich also questioned former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and CEO of the Hunt Energy Network, Pat Wood, on what policies measures are needed to accelerate the deployment of sufficient energy storage technologies. On Tuesday, Senator Heinrich and U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced the bipartisan Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act to establish an investment tax credit (ITC) for business and home use of energy storage. Senator Heinrich is calling for pragmatic policy approaches to ensure that the deployment of energy storage stays at the center of ongoing efforts to move toward a cleaner, more reliable electrical grid.
In response to gigawatt generation shortfalls that Texas faced, Senator Heinrich noted the importance of not isolating power systems, preventing them from connecting to neighboring grids in times of duress. Mr. Wood responded that there are connection proposals in the works, but further efforts to weatherize and study gigawatt shortfalls will be needed.
Watch the full hearing by clicking here.