FERC Seeks Comments on Efficient Integration of Renewables

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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is seeking comments on whether to reform its rules and procedures to ensure that variable energy resources (VERs) are integrated into the nation’s power grid in a manner that is efficient, nondiscriminatory and conducive to reliability. In its Notice of Inquiry (NOI) issued on January 21, 2010 (FERC Docket No. RM10-11-000), FERC stated that it is taking a “fresh look” at its current policies and practices to ensure that they appropriately accommodate the unique challenges posed by integrating the increasing supply of VERs.

Background

Although VERs (including wind, solar and certain types of hydro power) currently account for only a small percentage of the nation’s total generation, FERC explains in its NOI that this percentage is rapidly increasing and will soon be a significant component of the nation’s overall energy supply portfolio. FERC notes that the electric grid and a number of its procedures and policies were developed at a time when electricity was generated almost exclusively from centralized, dispatchable resources that were powered by on-demand fuel sources. These policies and procedures today may impose unnecessary barriers to transmission service and wholesale markets for VERs and therefore hinder the promotion of greater efficiencies that could lead to reduced costs to consumers.

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