FERC Proposes Changes To Renewable Energy Integration Procedures

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has proposed reforms to its rules to lay the foundation for integrating the rapid growth of variable energy resources into the nation's power grid.

The proposed new rule would reform the Open Access Transmission Tariffs (OATT) and the Large Generator Interconnection Agreements filed by public utility transmission providers to require them to offer services that will allow for a more efficient integration of variable energy resources such as solar, wind and hydrokinetics into the grid system.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) proposes to require public utility transmission providers to offer all customers the option to schedule transmission service at 15-minute intervals instead of the current hourly scheduling procedure. The more frequent scheduling intervals will provide for greater accuracy in scheduling, thereby mitigating the amount of ancillary services the customer will need to supply or purchase, according to FERC.

The NOPR also proposes that interconnection customers whose generating facilities include variable energy resources provide meteorological and operational data to transmission providers, and encourages transmission providers with variable energy resources on their systems to implement power production forecasting.

A third element of the proposal clarifies that transmission providers have the opportunity, through a newly proposed schedule, to recover costs associated with the integration of variable energy resources and sets forth FERC's proposed expectations that the transmission provider would need to demonstrate its implementation of intra-hourly scheduling and power production forecasting in order to ensure variable energy resources are being charged at a just and reasonable rate.

Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), commends FERC for the announcement.

‘The establishment of a cost-effective and equitable means of integrating these renewable resources into the grid is an absolutely essential prerequisite to the transition to a clean energy economy,’ Resch says. ‘SEIA is very pleased that FERC has taken action today on this critical matter and looks forward to filing comments based on a thorough review of the proposed rule.’

SOURCES: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Solar Energy Industries Association

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