The district is aiming to deliver 100% renewable energy by 2032, and observers say microgrids will be a key strategy. Regulators have indicated they want to ensure their approach does not dissuade development, while still addressing key issues of safety and consumer protection.
"For microgrids that may fall under our regulatory authority, the threshold question is whether and to what extent we should employ a different paradigm such as 'lightened regulation' or 'light touch or light-handed' oversight to facilitate deployment," the PSC said in its NOI.
Regulators said the terms are "used interchangeably to refer to exempting a microgrid from traditional commission regulations" including making annual reports and filing rate schedules and tariffs.
Microgrids will be a key to the city's grid modernization efforts, according to stakeholders.
"We need safe, reliable, and dynamic microgrids in the District to power and empower communities," Smedick said in an email. The city's climate plan, Clean Energy DC, has identified electrification of buildings and transportation networks as two keys to reducing carbon emissions and improving energy efficiency.
The PSC's microgrid proceeding "is an opportunity for the District to make sure the dots in Clean Energy DC are fully connected," Smedick said.