Heart for Organic Range sues DOE for grid resilience research information

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The Center for Biological Diversity sued the US Department of Energy for failing to publish records of the agency’s collaboration with utilities and the fossil fuel industry for a major publicly funded study on the reliability and resilience of the North American power grid.

The lawsuit, which has been filed in the US District Court in Washington, DC, concerns the North American Energy Resilience Model, an agency initiative that aims to model and assess vulnerabilities in North America. The center is looking for records to shed some light on how corporate interests, including utilities and the gas industry, may influence the model and study, particularly in relation to network improvements that could ensure a clean energy transition.

“The Department of Energy is holding back documents that show whether fossil fuel interests have influenced this important assessment of our energy future,” said Alison Borochoff-Porte, attorney for the center. “Given the urgency of the climate crisis, the public has a right to know how much corporate interests were involved.”

The country’s reliance on gas, including fracked gas, is exacerbating the climate crisis due to carbon dioxide released through combustion as well as methane spills. Renewable energy sources, especially decentralized solar energy, can offer a multitude of grid advantages that are often overlooked. For example, solar coupled with storage or as part of a communal microgrid can improve resilience to climate change-related storms, fires and heat waves.

Little public information is available on the taxpayer-funded North American Energy Resilience Model, which is designed to identify potential infrastructure investments that could set the course for the country’s power grid for the next generation. The center requested the documents under the Freedom of Information Act more than a year ago, but the Department of Energy did not provide any documents in response.

Message from the Center for Biodiversity

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