FERC News, North America, Pumped Storage Hydro

FERC aiming to increase energy storage in regional markets

A unanimous final ruling from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission made last week creates a new rule that will “remove barriers” for energy storage participation in regional markets.

The decision will “enhance competition and promote greater efficiency in the nation’s electric wholesale power markets, and will help support the resilience of the bulk power system,” FERC said, by encouraging “the participation of electric storage resources in the capacity, energy and ancillary services markets operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators.”

FERC’s rule will take place 90 days after its publication in the Federal Register and requires each regional grid operator to revise its current tariff to establish participation models for storage resources — including pumped-storage hydroelectric power — that “properly recognize the physical and operational characteristics of electric storage resources.”

“Given the ongoing changes in our nation’s resource mix and the changing capabilities needed to serve customers, electric storage is poised to provide a critically important role,” FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur said.

The full text of the ruling can be downloaded from FERC here.

Pumped-storage hydro has already been participating in the United States’ RTO/ISO markets for many years, FERC notes, though other technologies like batteries and flywheels are beginning to become more commercially viable.

Compliance filings by RTOs and ISOs are due 270 days after the ruling’s effective date, with an additional year being granted by FERC to implement tariff revisions.

Both FERC’s ruling and how utilities, manufacturers, policy makers, developers and others can strategize in building stronger grids through the use of storage technologies will be discussed at the upcoming Grid-Scale Storage Summit. This two-day event is co-located with HydroVision International 2018 in Charlotte, N.C. For more information, visit here.