Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs)

This blog is the twelfth in our series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”

Power lines, strung between high-voltage transmission towers, are etched across the American landscape. Yet the United States’ current transmission infrastructure is outdated and inefficient, plagued by bottlenecks and weak interconnections across regions, which limit the grid’s ability to integrate renewable generation and its overall resilience. Improving and expanding the Nation’s transmission infrastructure is therefore central to the American Jobs Plan’s (AJP) grid modernization, decarbonization and job-creation goals.
Continue Reading Lines, Labor and Leveraging Capital: How the AJP Would Upgrade Transmission Infrastructure

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved tariff terms for a Regional Transmission Operator (RTO) to treat electric storage resources as transmission facilities under certain circumstances.  Previously, FERC approved only one case-specific proposal to treat storage as transmission.  Treatment as a transmission facility provides additional deployment opportunities for storage resources and allows cost recovery through cost-of service transmission rates instead of relying entirely on energy market revenues.  Commissioner James Danly, however, dissented from the tariff order, preferring to maintain the bright line between generation and transmission previously established by FERC.
Continue Reading Electric Storage May Be Treated as Transmission

A previous post on this blog reported a complaint by an electric storage resource owner that FERC must reform a Regional Transmission Organization’s (RTO’s) tariff with respect to the treatment of storage batteries.  In response, FERC issued an Order that requires the RTO to adopt rules that allow storage resources to participate in all of its markets and that account for those resources’ physical and operational characteristics.  The Order is significant because it breaks down barriers to the participation of storage resources in energy, capacity and ancillary services markets in an RTO whose rules are shown to violate the policies proposed in FERC’s Storage NOPR.

Continue Reading FERC Addresses Electric Storage Complaint

As part of an ongoing effort to address issues raised by, and encourage the entry of, distributed energy resources, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last week issued a Policy Statement clarifying the flexibility electric storage resources have regarding rate designs to recover their costs.  FERC earlier proposed rules to remove barriers to the participation of storage and other distributed resources in the organized wholesale electricity markets administered by Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs).  These policies and rules are of interest to storage operators and investors, grid managers, other participants in RTO markets and consumers of storage services.

Storage resources, such as large-scale batteries and flywheels, are able to both absorb and discharge electricity.  These resources can provide multiple services almost instantaneously and thus may fit into more than one of the traditional asset functions of generation, transmission, and distribution.  The Policy Statement provides guidance for storage resources that want to charge rates for providing multiple types of services.
Continue Reading FERC Clarifies Cost Recovery Flexibility for Electric Storage Resources