United States

United States

FERC directs greater grid access for storage

UNITED STATES: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has taken a significant step towards removing regulatory barriers for energy to access much of the country's electricity grid.

E.on added storage facilities to wind projects in Texas
E.on added storage facilities to wind projects in Texas

Grid operators in about 75% of the country will now have to allow the faster adoption of storage by adapting market rules to recognise the physical and operational characteristics of electric storage.

FERC said the decision will "enhance competition and promote greater efficiency" in the US's electric wholesale markets and will help "support the resilience of the bulk power system".

The ruling may be of marginal importance to wind in the short-term. "But in the long run we need all the sources of flexibility we can get, and storage is part of that," said Rob Gramlich of consultancy firm Grid Strategies.

Gramlich oversaw transmission policy for the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) from 2005 to 2016 and has been an economic adviser at FERC.

"In the future, there may... come a time when batteries significantly alter wind farm economics," said Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Will Nelson.

Currently, storage is expensive and much more renewable power than is currently generated in the US could be integrated into the grid, even without storage.

Storage can help with the variability of wind or solar, and can provide frequency regulation and other ancillary services.

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