Michael Hogan is a senior advisor to the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), working on issues related to power market design, integration of low-carbon supply, system planning, and demand response in the United States and Europe. Camille Kadoch is RAP’s general counsel and publications manager. Dr. Carl Linvill is a RAP principal, leading the organization’s efforts on renewable energy integration and transmission planning in the Western United States. Megan O’Reilly is an environmental lawyer and principal and owner of Arc Research and Analysis; she worked with RAP and Agora Energiewende as a Robert Bosch Fellow in 2016-2017.
The power system in the United States, like that in numerous other countries throughout the world, is in a period of transition.
Overall, generation is shifting away from large, inflexible thermal generation, that is, traditional baseload generation, and toward smaller, more dispersed, variable renewable resources.
This transition is occurring both because citizens are calling for less carbon-intensive resources, and simply because wind and solar have become among the least expensive resources.
U.S. natural gas prices have declined and the cost of renewables has come down dramatically.
A recent report from the R Street Institute, “Embracing Baseload Power Retirements,” noted that “Historically, conventional baseload resources were integral to achieving portfolio reliability at least cost, but some of these resources no longer provide the most economical means to meet reliability needs.”