Wednesday, February 21, 2007

New FERC Transmission Access Rules Benefit Renewables

On February 15, 2007, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) adopted a new regulation related to energy transmission access, parts of which will benefit renewable energy generators. EERE News has a report on the important aspects of the regulations:

The new rule exempts intermittent power generators, such as wind power plants, from excessive "imbalance" charges when the amount of energy they deliver is different than the amount of energy they are scheduled to deliver. To help accommodate less-predictable forms of renewable power generation, the rule creates a "conditional firm" service to deliver power from a generator to a customer, allowing the power supplier to provide firm service for most, but not all, hours in the requested time period.

A key aspect of the new rule is that it eliminates the broad discretion that transmission providers currently possess in calculating the unused, available capacity on their transmission lines. Instead, the new rule requires public utilities to work with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation to develop consistent methods of calculating the available capacity and to publish those calculations to increase transparency.
A copy of the new transmission access rule (note: large PDF) is available on FERC's website, along with a copy of the FERC press release, and the Chairman's statment on the topic.

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