On March 5, 2021, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)  announced a virtual, public technical conference “to discuss issues surrounding the threat to electric system reliability posed by climate change and extreme weather events.” FERC scheduled the conference for June 1 and 2, 2021. Commissioners may attend and participate.

Noting that “[r]eliable electric service is vital to the nation's economy, national security, and public health and safety,” and that “prolonged power outages can have significant humanitarian consequences”—as did the recent weather-driven outages in Texas and other states—FERC indicated that the conference “will address concerns that because extreme weather events are increasing in frequency, intensity, geographic expanse, and duration, the number and severity of weather-induced events in the electric power industry may also increase.” FERC also stated that the conference “will also address the specific challenges posed to electric system reliability by climate change and extreme weather, which may vary by region,” such as wildfires versus “weather-driven fuel supply interruptions.”

Through this new proceeding, FERC seeks to “understand the near, medium and long-term challenges facing the regions of the country; how decisionmakers in the regions are evaluating and addressing those challenges; and whether further action from the Commission is needed to help achieve an electric system that can withstand, respond to, and recover from extreme weather events.” FERC will solicit comments from interested parties in a separate notice prior to the conference.

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