FERC tech conference on DER aggregation

Monday, April 2, 2018

How should distributed energy resources be allowed to aggregate and participate in organized wholesale electricity markets? How could increased adoption of distributed energy resources affect the bulk power system? U.S. energy regulators have announced a two-day technical conference to be held in April 2018 to discuss these and other issues relating to distributed energy resources.

Distributed energy resources, or DERs, are generally small, geographically dispersed electric resources, installed and operated on the distribution system at voltage levels below the typical bulk power system levels of 100kV. Traditional DERs have featured distributed generation like rooftop solar panels or on-site combined heat and power plants, but the term now encompasses other resources including energy efficiency, microgrids, and even new technologies like energy storage. These distributed energy resources can be cost-effective alternatives to traditional utility infrastructure and business models, and can also have reliability and environmental benefits.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has scheduled a technical conference on DERs for April 10 and 11, 2018. According to a supplemental notice, the Commission hopes to gather additional information to inform its decision on DER aggregation reforms proposed in the Commission's 2016 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Electric Storage Participation in Markets Operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators. The Commission also hopes to gather information on the potential effects of DERs on the bulk power system.

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