FERC Proposes Rule to Integrate Variable Energy Resources into Grid

November 24, 2010

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on November 18 proposed reforms to its rules to lay the foundation for integrating the rapid growth of variable energy resources into the power grid. The proposal would allow more efficient integration of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and hydrokinetics into the grid while maintaining reliability. The "notice of proposed rulemaking" (NOPR) seeks to require that public utility transmission providers offer customers the option to schedule transmission service at 15-minute intervals instead of hourly. This increased frequency would provide greater accuracy in scheduling, cutting the amount of ancillary power services the customer will need to supply or purchase.

The proposed rule would affect the "open access transmission tariffs" and "large generator interconnection agreements" filed by public utility transmission providers. The NOPR also proposes that interconnection customers whose generating facilities include variable energy resources provide meteorological and operational data to transmission providers, and it encourages transmission providers with variable energy resources on their systems to implement power production forecasting. See the FERC press release.