A task force examining the deployment of emerging technologies across the North American electric grid has identified three imperatives necessary to ensure the continued reliability and efficiency of the bulk electricity system, relating to: renewable supply and integration; greater situational awareness; and controlling an increasingly distributed energy system, with increased deployment of distributed energy resources.
The 39-page report, “Emerging Technologies: How ISOs and RTOs can create a more nimble, robust electricity system,” was published on March 16, 2017, by a group of nine Independent System Operators (ISO)
and Regional Transmission Organizations (RTO) known collectively as the ISO/RTO Council (IRC).
With respect to integrating renewable resources, the IRC noted that it "[s]upports policies and positions recognizing the electricity system’s ability to accommodate large amounts of renewables and
realizing their growing potential." While remaining "agnostic to specific
technologies that may faciiltate
renewable integration", IRC supports policies
that accommodate emerging
technologies, while "avoiding early technological lock-in."
With respect to situational awareness, the IRC notes the lack of available data on the penetration of distributed energy resources, but that a lack of data or its sharing should not limit grid operators' understanding of what's happening on the grid. IRC suggests the development of a general operational data framework, "where increasingly comprehensive
operational data from the distribution system is provided as DER penetrations reach different
The report also notes, "Because of emerging technologies, North America’s electricity systems are moving toward a more distributed
arrangement." In 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in which it proposed rule changes "to remove barriers to to the participation of electric storage resources and distributed energy resource aggregations" in organized wholesale
electric markets. Recognizing that such a rule change could set a framework for future DER growth, the IRC calls for continued coordination, data sharing, and flexibility.