FERC Decision and Recognition of Microgrids - Time for an industry voice?

By Robert Thornton posted 01-12-2018 13:30


Robert Thornton, IDEA

As we all know, on Monday January 8, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a unanimous decision to terminate Docket No RM18-1-000, which addressed the Proposed Rule on Grid Reliability and Resilience Pricing (Proposed Rule), submitted to the Commission by the Secretary of the Department of Energy.  In issuing this decision, the FERC also established a new docket and requested that the Regional Transmission Operators (RTO’s) and Independent System Operators (ISO’s) provide input within the next 60 days on how they would define and value resilience.

While this decision was not unexpected, it certainly generated substantial headlines and commentary.  What might have been overlooked in all the kerfuffle, was an important concurring companion opinion authored by Commissioner Glick that called for “further consideration of the impact of newer technologies, such as distributed energy resources, energy storage and micro-grids, may offer in addressing resilience challenges to the bulk power system”.  

I urge my colleagues in the microgrid/CHP/district energy industry to read Commissioner Glick's statement. In recognizing the energy paradigm shift underway, it is encouraging to read an informed opinion reflecting the market opportunities that members of the International District Energy Association and Microgrid Resources Coalition are working hard to deploy to enhance energy efficiency and resiliency. 

It is incumbent on IDEA/MRC members to share our experiences with FERC and state regulators on how district energy/CHP/microgrids can strengthen and modernize the electricity grid, if we can also modernize the arcane rules inhibiting forward progress to a more resilient, efficient and sustainable grid.