Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers delivered opening remarks at Wednesday’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing about the need for a diverse and reliable energy base.
Excerpts and highlights from her prepared remarks:
“I want to express my sorrow to all the families and friends who lost loved ones during this terrible event.
“It’s my hope that we focus on solutions today so this tragedy never happens again—not just in Texas but other states with dangerous energy reliability problems too.”
“There should be a full accounting of what went wrong with Texas’s grid failures.
“We have a good idea of generally what went wrong, but we still lack the specifics of what caused the failures.
“The freezing conditions and record winter power demand in Texas and the south-central U.S. were extremely rare.
“For the sake of the nation’s energy security, the Subcommittee should be looking at what happened in Texas, and more broadly at all issues that threaten the resiliency of the energy grid.
“Recent trends show a transition away from coal and nuclear power plants, designed to function as baseload capacity, toward variable renewable energy sources with just-in-time natural gas back-up.
“States like California that rely more on weather-dependent renewables, experience energy failures on a regular basis.
“Indeed, California residents experience blackouts on an ongoing, annual basis as the State fails to manage summer electricity demand and wildfire risks.
“These events suggest that replacing nuclear plants with variable renewable energy sources could make electricity grids less resilient.
“Policies that drive renewables at the expense of firm baseload put lives at risk.
“People are suffering not just from power loss from devastating storms but from frequent ‘public safety power shutoffs’ to prevent wildfires from being started by electrical equipment during strong winds and dry weather.
“Power failures interrupt healthcare, transportation, public safety and the welfare of individuals, especially seniors and those with disabilities.
“We should review events across the country with unity and urgency on what this committee can do to strengthen the power grid reliability and resilience.”
A DIVERSE ENERGY BASE
“The recent crisis in Texas is a wake-up call.
“While our country moves towards integrating renewables, integration must be achieved through diverse energy sources that include nuclear, hydropower, natural gas, clean coal, and wind and solar.
“A resilient power grid is not a one-size fits all operation imposed by Washington, D.C., nor should it be.
“Texas has the most integrated renewable energy sources of any state, but that still did not prevent the power failure.
“The U.S. has reduced more greenhouse gas emissions than any other country over the last twenty years.
“But this progress AND the resiliency of our power grid will be put at risk without assuring the bulk energy supply and not overestimating the contribution of weather-dependent renewables.”
HYDROPOWER CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE ACT
“With that, I look forward to today’s testimony and continuing the conversation with my colleagues about some legislative solutions.
“As part of our Securing Cleaner American Energy Agenda, I’m leading the Hydropower Clean Energy Future Act to expand clean, renewable, reliable, and affordable hydropower production in America, as well as to promote the innovation of the next generation of hydroelectric technology.
“Reforms in the Hydropower Clean Energy Future Act will help us achieve our goals and will create good-paying jobs that can ensure our transition to a cleaner energy future.
“But hydropower is only one very important part of the total diverse energy mix that the United States must have to keep the lights on and keep our citizens safe.”