Wednesday, January 23, 2019

MISO Energy Storage Group Seeks Expanded Role

By Amanda Durish Cook

MISO’s Energy Storage Task Force is making a bid to broaden its role by seeking the authority to evaluate storage issues in addition to identifying them.

The group moved to revise its charter during a Tuesday conference, but any proposed changes are subject to approval by the Steering Committee at its next meeting.

The task force is currently limited to only identifying storage issues requiring MISO’s attention. It then forwards its findings to the Steering Committee, which assigns the issues to larger stakeholder committees for decisions. (See MISO Storage Task Force Defines Role, Seeks Plan.)

But the group now wants the authority to evaluate “issues or topics that are unique to the integration or challenge the realization of benefits of energy storage,” according to the revised charter. It would “also provide ongoing subject matter expertise to MISO entities regarding storage-related issues.”

miso energy storage task force

A MISO Energy Storage Task Force meeting underway. | © RTO Insider

Task force Chair John Fernandes said the initial charter may have been too restrictive.

“That was a very unilateral, one-way mission statement,” Fernandes said. “What we’re saying here is that there’s an opportunity for extended dialogue.”

He said it can sometimes feel as if the group encounters “radio silence” after it identifies an issue taken up by a larger stakeholder committee.

Fernandes said the group will reconvene in September to discuss next steps if the Steering Committee refuses to approve the expanded charter.

Some stakeholders said the revised charter might open the door to two stakeholder groups having the same discussions about energy storage, violating the spirit of MISO’s stakeholder process redesign three years ago that sought to reduce duplicative discussions across different RTO forums. (See MISO Takes Stakeholders’ Temperature on Redesign.)

But Fernandes said there are broad storage subjects that warrant further task force discussions even if a specific issue may have been escalated to another MISO group. He cited hybrid storage facilities as an example, noting the interconnection of such plants is currently under discussion within the RTO, but the general business model requires more evaluation.

Fernandes also questioned the efficiency of stakeholder committees creating new task teams to discuss unique storage attributes when the task force could evaluate them.

He added that the task force plans to continue to stay out of developing commercial business models for storage, as recommended by the Steering Committee.