FERC removes barriers for distributed energy resources

Source: By Josh Siegel and Abby Smith, Washington Examiner • Posted: Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted during a meeting Thursday to approve an order allowing distributed energy resources — such as rooftop solar, home energy storage, and electric vehicles and their supply equipment — to participate in wholesale electricity markets.

Republican Chairman Neil Chatterjee and Democratic Commissioner Richard Glickvoted to approve the order, while Republican Commissioner James Danly dissented, though he gave no details during the meeting as to why.

Chatterjee lauded the order as a “landmark foundational rule that paves the way for the grid of tomorrow.” The order is in a similar vein to another FERC action issued two years ago that broke down barriers to allow energy storage to compete in electricity markets.

Allowing distributed energy resources to participate in electricity markets has direct benefits for consumers, too, Chatterjee said, suggesting the move could lower customer energy costs and help keep the lights on during times of stress on the power grid.

Bonus from the FERC meeting: Chatterjee also announced he has asked FERC staff to probe California’s rolling blackouts imposed last month during peak energy demand amid a severe heat wave for any issues related to grid reliability and energy markets. FERC staff will present its findings at the commission’s meeting in November, the chairman said.