FERC explores efficient integration of renewables into the grid

Washington, D.C., January 22, 2010 – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is taking a fresh look at regulatory policies to integrate the rapidly increasing number of variable energy resources into the nation’s power grid in the most efficient and non-discriminatory manner while maintaining power system reliability.

FERC issued a Notice of Inquiry seeking public comment on whether to reform any of its rules or procedures as the nation’s generation portfolio expands to include more variable energy resources such as wind, solar or non-storage hydro generating plants.

Growing use of these types of facilities presents unique challenges to the electric power industry, such as location constraints and limited ability to dispatch, but also offers benefits such as low marginal energy costs and reduced greenhouse gas and other emissions.

“We are seeing a rapid expansion in the use of renewable energy technologies around the country that have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and electricity costs for consumers,” FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff said. “To accommodate that expansion, it is our job to ensure that FERC has in place the market and operational reforms necessary to ensure that all wholesale electricity tariffs are just, reasonable and not unduly discriminatory.”

Commenters should take a broad look at the issues concerning the integration of variable generation resources and should address any effects of variable energy resources on the following subject areas:

    * Data and reporting requirements, including accurate forecasting tools;

    * Scheduling flexibility and incentives for accurate scheduling of variable energy resources;

    * Forward market structure and reliability commitments;

    * Balancing Authority Area size and coordination;

    * Suitability of reserve products;

    * Capacity market reforms; and

    * Redispatch and curtailment practices.


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