Tuesday, March 28, 2017

FERC Open Meeting Briefs

FERC Tech Conference to Include Storage Discussion

WASHINGTON — A May 13 FERC technical conference reviewing generator interconnection procedures will include a discussion on the interconnection of energy storage resources (RM16-12, RM15-12).

FERC-commissioners-listen-to-National-Labs-presentations-content-web

FERC commissioners listen as representatives from the Energy Department’s National Laboratories give a presentation on grid modernization. © RTO Insider.

The tech conference was scheduled in response to a 2015 petition by the American Wind Energy Association to revise the commission’s pro forma large generator interconnection agreement. Other topics to be discussed include the current status of interconnection queues and transparency in the interconnection study process.

The conference was brought up by FERC Chairman Norman Bay during a presentation staff gave the commission at its open meeting last week on the data requests it sent six grid operators regarding their rules for energy storage participation in the wholesale markets. The storage issues slated for discussion at the conference are largely the same as those the RTOs will address in their responses to the data requests, which are due May 2. (See FERC to Examine RTO Roles for Energy Storage.)

“Energy storage is one of the big potential game changers in the energy industry,” Commissioner Tony Clark said. “This line of inquiry that we’re opening and the responses we’re going to get back I think are going to be tremendously important.”

National Labs Brief FERC on Grid Modernization

Representatives from the Department of Energy and its national laboratories said that increased communication and cooperation with FERC will be needed in order to help them in their efforts to modernize the grid.

These efforts — including integrating renewable energy resources and energy storage, and increasing protection against cyber threats — were detailed in a series of presentations at the commission’s open meeting last week. The integration of new technologies will result in a paradigm shift in how energy is generated and used, they said.

One of “the key trends and themes that we’re reinforcing is the evolution towards more distributed control,” said Jeff Dagle, chief electrical engineer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. “Historically, we’ve forecasted demand and dispatched supply. I think increasingly in the future, we’ll be forecasting supply and dispatching demand.”

Chuck Goldman, of the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, urged FERC to consider having its senior staff participate in the advisory committees on some of the labs’ projects. He also said the commission should “think about the kinds of [research and development] that might be appropriate for ISOs that’s in the public interest [and] that can deal with grid modernization issues.”

– Michael Brooks

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