FERC’s VER NOPR

Late last week, FERC released, amidst investigations, an Order, and an enforcement recap, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) that helps set the stage for reliability and integration of rapidly-growing renewable energy sources.

Photo by Brian Shaw. Some rights reserved.

The proposed reforms update requirements for public utility transmission providers to help address the irregularity of energy derived from such sources as solar, wind, and hydrokinetic facilities. Variable Energy Resources (VERs), as they are called, are defined by their renewability, but even more so by their inability to be stored and the fact that level of production is out of the hands of the facility operator.

According to a recent Mayer Brown Legal Update, this variability can strain transmission systems, and, in return, the transmission systems may impose unanticipated costs on the generators and purchasers of such power. To help ensure “undue discrimination and unjust and unreasonable rates,” FERC is specifically proposing to: (1) require public utility transmission providers to offer 15-minute transmission scheduling; (2) require interconnection customers whose generating facilities are variable energy resources to provide meteorological and operational data to public utility transmission providers for the purpose of power production forecasting; and (3) add a generic ancillary service rate schedule through which public utility transmission providers will offer regulation service to transmission customers delivering energy from a generator located within the transmission provider’s balancing authority area.

FERC hopes that together, these three changes will remove barriers to the integration of VERs. Mayer Brown anticipates that, “if adopted, the proposed rules should promote the stability of the transmission system, encourage the development of wind and solar power, and provide greater certainty for all parties as to the costs that VERs and the purchasers of their output must bear.”

The NOPR is based on a Notice of Inquiry that was published earlier this year and subsequent comments from stakeholders. If you’d like to comment on the current NOPR, you can submit your thoughts within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register, Docket RM10-11-000.

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You can view FERC’s related studies and other materials on their Integration of Renewables page.

Van Ness Feldman has also published a detailed Issue Alert on the topic.

2 responses to this post.

  1. […] addition to expanding the scope of transmission-related reliability standards to cover renewable energy sources, FERC has also […]

    Reply

  2. […] that stakeholders may use the study “to support positions filed in response to the Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing the Integration of Variable Energy […]

    Reply

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