In mid-February, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) voted to remove market barriers that are currently preventing energy storage from participating in the wholesale energy markets (also referred to as the bulk power grid).
The FERC is the government agency which regulates interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil. So, it is their job to oversee the bulk power system in the US.
This rulemaking (NOPR) will “enhance competition and promote greater efficiency in the nation’s electric wholesale markets, and will help support the resilience of the bulk power system.” The agency has been aware that market rules designed for traditional energy resources can create barriers to entry for emerging technologies like electric storage. The final rule requires every regional grid operator to revise their tariff and establish a participation model for electric storage.
“We have been discussing this battery storage item for years. Batteries behind the meter (DER’s, distributed energy resources) are to be aggregated and made accessible to the wholesale distribution market share,” an Arch Electric representative stated in light of this major industry news.
The FERC will continue to study how other types of energy resources (solar, electric vehicles) could also participate in these wholesale markets. With this type of rulemaking, it’s clear that the government sees the value provided by energy storage, and the solar industry (and every investor in solar technology) will ultimately benefit from this decision. The senior VP of Advanced Energy Economy said, “…Energy storage can help reduce costs to consumers and ensure that the lights stay on.”