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by Jeff St. John
May 04, 2018

It’s been a tense week for watchers of FirstEnergy’s coal and nuclear power plant bankruptcy, with supporters of clean energy and rational markets awaiting a decision from the Trump administration on the company’s proposed emergency bailouts or national security interventions to keep the uncompetitive power plants open.

Meanwhile, grid operator PJM dismissed FirstEnergy’s nuclear closure plans as a non-threat to future grid reliability, but also launched a “fuel security” study that has drawn fire from some clean energy advocates as a backdoor effort to prop up coal and nuclear power.

Like most of the debate over grid resilience sparked by Energy Secretary Rick Perry's failed intervention into federal energy market regulations last year, this week’s focus has been on the role of generators and transmission grid operators to prepare for, mitigate and recover from storms, physical or cyberattacks, natural disasters and other major grid disruptions.

But a new report from Grid Strategies and Alison Silverstein, the veteran energy consultant who co-wrote last year’s Energy Department report on grid resilience, argues that it’s far more cost-effective to build resilience from the customer level on up.