US FERC approves rules to remove barriers to energy storage

Duke Energy battery installations. Photo by: Duke Energy (www.duke-energy.com).

February 16 (Renewables Now) - The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Thursday approved rules designed to remove barriers to the participation of energy storage in the US wholesale markets.    

The rules will help storage technologies play a role in the capacity, energy and ancillary services markets operated by Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and Independent System Operators  (ISOs). The commission said this will increase competition and boost the efficiency in the wholesale markets, and help support the resilience of the bulk power system.

In particular, FERC requires the regional grid operators to revise their tariffs to create a participation model for electric storage resources. This model should ensure that a resource using it is eligible to provide all capacity, energy and ancillary services that it is capable of providing, and can be dispatched and can set the wholesale market clearing price as both a seller and buyer. The model should also account for the physical and operational characteristics of storage resources through bidding parameters, for instance, and set a minimum size requirement up to 100 kW. In addition, according to the new rules, the sale of electricity from the wholesale electricity market to a storage facility that it then resells back to those markets must be at the wholesale locational marginal price.

The final rules follow a publication by the commission in November 2016 of a notice of proposed rulemaking on the matter. That notice also proposed changes for distributed energy resource aggregations, but FERC said yesterday that more information is needed in this area.  

The energy storage rules will takes effect 90 days after publication in the Federal Register. The RTOs and ISOs will then have 270 days to provide compliance filings and 365 days more to implement the tariff revisions.

Commenting on FERC's unanimous vote to approve the rules, Kelly Speakes-Backman, chief executive of the Energy Storage Association, said: "Electric storage technologies already fulfill crucial functions in the bulk power system to provide reliable power and a more resilient grid. With this morning’s unequivocal action, the FERC signaled both a recognition of the value provided by storage today, and more importantly, a clear vision of the role electric storage can play, given a clear pathway to wholesale market participation."

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Browse all articles from Plamena Tisheva

Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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