Clues from DOE report
Tony Clark served as a Commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from 2012-2016. He is a former Chairman of the North Dakota Public Service Commission and a former President of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.
After months of speculation, the Department of Energy released its highly anticipated Department of Energy Staff Report on Electric Markets and Reliability. Many of the responses to the DOE report have been predictable.
From traditional coal and nuclear operators, the DOE report received a polite golf clap, though they probably hoped there would have been more there. Environmental advocates have panned it as, at best, meaningless; and at worst, a document rife with proof that the Trump administration is out to gut the clean energy industry.
For much of the generalist Washington press corps, the report was a chance to write one of those DC-centric speculation and horserace articles about whether renewables would be blamed for coal's demise, and naming the report's winners and losers.
But those of us steeped in the inner workings of the regulatory world view it as a data-heavy report that plays it down the middle. More important, we know that much of the real action in electric markets and reliability happens in the more cloistered hallways of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.