If a homeowner stores power in a rooftop water heater attached to a solar panel and then sells that power back into the grid when the sun is shining, does that make them a utility?
FERC released this notice of inquiry (NOI) today hoping to take a closer look at grid operations and how the expanded use of electrical storage technologies has been affecting electrical supply.
To help encourage the development of storage resources, this NOI asks whether and how this Commission’s reporting and accounting regulations should be modified to accommodate the varying services that storage can provide
All those rooftop solar installations and plug-in electric vehicles are leading to an increase in private energy storing devices. They pose two problems for FERC: the commission is not sure how to classify a home storage device that provides energy (is it a utility, a power generator?); current FERC pricing mechanisms have not taken into account the potential additional costs of these devices stemming from impacts on grid operations.
“With this uncertainty, it may be difficult for owners of these technologies to meet reporting requirements. That in turn would make it difficult for regulators to determine costs and establish appropriate rates for these resources,” the FERC said in a statement issues with the document.
In this NOI, FERC looks at a policy that would require these energy services providers, or “competitive ancillary” providers, to prove that they lack market power before selling their services for standard market-based rates.
“The proliferation of fast response storage technologies is important for the integration of renewable resources and the reliable and efficient functioning of the transmission grid and wholesale markets,” said FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff.
He added: “To help encourage the development of storage resources, this NOI asks whether and how this Commission’s reporting and accounting regulations should be modified to accommodate the varying services that storage can provide.”