My testimony before the Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs within the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability

Chairman Fallon, Ranking Member Bush, and distinguished members of the subcommittee:

Thank you for the opportunity to testify on the reliability and security of America’s electrical grid. The Cato Institute is a nonpartisan public policy research organization dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace. At Cato, I am the Director of Energy and Environmental Policy Studies, and my research focuses on the economics and reliability of electricity, the role of free markets in improving the availability and affordability of energy and natural resources, and environmental regulations that impact the energy sector.

I commend you for your efforts to better understand the impacts of public policy on the reliability and security of America’s power grid.

Executive Summary

Americans depend on a strong energy infrastructure for our health and well‐​being, and the electrical grid is the most important—and fragile—piece of energy infrastructure we have. Unfortunately, the power grid is hampered by harmful public policies at nearly every level of government.

The stakes for policymakers are high. Losing sight of the fundamental issue of grid reliability—particularly by endorsing policies that shut down reliable generators or subsidize unreliable ones—puts citizens’ lives at risk.

A recent reminder of this fact was the tragic loss of lives during Winter Storm Uri. And we see the growing frequency of energy emergency alerts across the country, including load shed events in the footprints of Duke Energy and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

During extreme weather, Americans need reliable electricity to survive. Day to day, we need reliable and affordable electricity to thrive and grow.

The power grid should be an asset to American prosperity, but policymakers—through a multitude of subsidies, regulations, and mandates—have wounded it to the point that it is now becoming a dangerous liability.

Read more: The Power Struggle