Author: Monique Hanis      Published: 9/17/2020          AEE

ferc-building

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 17, 2020 – Today, national business group Advanced Energy Economy applauded approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) of a long-awaited rule (FERC Order No. 2222) directing Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs) to open their markets to participation by distributed energy resources (DERs). The vote was 2-1, with Commissioner Danly dissenting.

“We applaud FERC for taking this critical and long-awaited step to open competitive wholesale electricity markets to distributed energy resources. Having worked on this important rulemaking since 2016, we are thrilled that FERC has now taken action to reduce barriers to these technology innovations in wholesale markets,” said Jeff Dennis, Managing Director and General Counsel at AEE. “While we are still reviewing the details of the Commission’s decision, it appears that FERC has delivered a welcome and much needed win for U.S. consumers — as Chairman Chatterjee said this morning, ‘when DER aggregations line up and compete with traditional resources to provide all the energy, ancillary services, and capacity that they have to offer –- consumers win.’ We couldn’t agree more.”

“Allowing this growing base of customer-owned and controlled resources to engage in these markets will improve competition, lower rates, give consumers more choice, and provide needed flexibility that will support the reliability and resilience of our electricity grid,” said Dennis. “This is a boon to American innovation that will save customers money while reducing carbon emissions. By improving the economics of clean, affordable energy resources customers are already adopting in ever increasing amounts, new business models will be developed to drive even more adoption of DERs, unleash private investment, and create good U.S. jobs.”

Under the Federal Power Act, FERC is charged with ensuring that competition in the wholesale power markets is open and fair, resulting in wholesale electricity rates that are “just and reasonable and not unduly discriminatory or preferential.”

In early 2016, FERC began examining market barriers facing energy storage technologies. At that time, AEE urged FERC to broaden the scope of its inquiry to additional advanced energy technologies, specifically distributed energy resources (DERs). On Nov. 17, 2016, agreeing with AEE, FERC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) proposing to remove barriers to the participation of both energy storage and aggregated DERs in organized wholesale electricity markets operated by RTOs and ISOs. On Feb. 15, 2018, FERC issued Order No. 841, directing RTOs/ISOs to remove barriers to the participation of energy storage resources, but elected to seek more information before finalizing a rule on DERs. The docket has been pending ever since.

In addition to smaller energy storage resources not subject to Order 841, DERs include resources like rooftop solar, electric vehicles, and other technologies located on the distribution system or behind the customer’s meter. Individually, these resources are too small to participate in regional grid markets, but technology and software advancements have enabled companies to aggregate DERs at a scale and operability level that makes them a significant, flexible resource to be called upon by regional grid operators. Allowing them to participate in wholesale markets reduces overall consumer costs and improves the economics of DER adoption by increasing their utilization, deferring investments in other resources. Wholesale market participation also unlocks new business models that can expand DER production and adoption in the United States, and will drive reductions of carbon emissions.

Chairman Chatterjee provided a real-life example of how Order No. 2222 leverages the power of electric vehicles: “Let me give you a real-life example of what we’re doing today. Think about electric vehicles, or EVs, for a moment. Estimates from EEI show there will be almost 19 million electric vehicles on the road in the United States by the end of this decade alone, and that’s on the low end of some of the projections I’ve seen. When those vehicles are charging, say, in our garages, they amount to a significant energy resource that could – over time, using the power of advanced technologies – be managed through aggregations to provide a range of services in our organized energy markets. They could provide energy and spinning reserves, or even frequency regulation. By unleashing the power of EVs in this way, we have the ability to further drive down costs in our markets and bolster grid resilience. That’s to say nothing of the added benefit of emissions reductions we could see from increased EV deployment.”

According to FERC’s fact sheet, “Order No. 2222 takes effect 90 days after publication in the Federal Register. Grid operators must make compliance filings to FERC within 270 days of the effective date. Each compliance filing must propose an implementation plan appropriately tailored for its region and must outline how the final rule will be implemented in a timely manner.”

Background Materials:

  • FERC Docket RM18-9-000*
  • FERC Order 2222 Fact Sheet is here. We await final written order.
  • “Here’s a Glimpse of What Distributed Energy Resources Could Bring to Wholesale Markets – If They Are Given A Chance,” Advanced Energy Perspectives, Sept. 17, 2019 is here.
  • “FERC Agrees with AEE: Let All Advanced Energy Technologies Compete in Regional Power Markets,” Advanced Energy Perspectives, Nov. 28, 2016 is here.
  • “Opinion: A FERC challenge: Opening up electricity markets to advanced energy technologies,” Utility Dive, June 30, 2016 is here.
  • AEE Urges FERC to Look Beyond StorageAEE Statement, June 7, 2016 is here.

*AEE offers free, complimentary access to its PowerSuite online platform tracking all federal and state energy legislation and regulatory filings to credentialed media. Sign up for a free trial and contact Monique Hanis (mhanis@aee.net) for permanent media access.

About Advanced Energy Economy
Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is a national association of businesses that are making the energy we use secure, clean, and affordable. Advanced energy encompasses a broad range of products and services that constitute the best available technologies for meeting energy needs today and tomorrow. AEE’s mission is to transform public policy to enable rapid growth of advanced energy businesses. Engaged at the federal level and in more than a dozen states around the country, AEE represents more than 100 companies in the $238 billion U.S. advanced energy industry, which employs 3.6 million U.S. workers. Learn more at www.aee.net, track the latest news @AEEnet.