Posted by: Patricia Salkin | November 25, 2010

FERC Approves Proposed Rulemaking on Integration of Renewables Into National Electricity Grid

On November 18, 2010, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted to issue a proposed rule to facilitate integration of renewable energy resources into the nation’s electricity grid. 

The proposed rulemaking addressed a narrow operational issue involving how much reserve generation capacity must be made available to keep the grid running smoothly and still accommodate renewable energy generation. Balancing load demand and generation output on the nation’s transmission system becomes a critical issue when so-called variable energy resources, such as wind energy and solar power, are added on a large scale. 

This proposed rulemaking follows on the heels of a “notice of inquiry” issued by the commission in January on the subject of integrating renewable energy into the grid. 

Among other things, the proposed new rule would require more frequent scheduling intervals to be provided by transmission owners and operators, which the FERC staff believes should provide for greater accuracy in scheduling. Specifically, the rule proposes that transmission providers will be required to offer the option of scheduling transmission service at 15-minute intervals instead of the currently hourly scheduling procedure, so that the transmission schedules can be adjusted to reflect real-time changes in customer load forecasts and generator output.

The proposed rule also requires a greater sharing of key data between transmission owners and renewable generators, and it provides a schedule for cost recovery by transmission providers associated with providing the new ancillary service, which the commission is calling “generator regulation service.” 

The proposed rulemaking is available at: http://www.ferc.gov/whats-new/comm-meet/2010/111810/E-1.pdf


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