Senators Urge FERC Action on Critical Renewable Energy Rule
‘Renewables [leading] the way for new additions onto our energy grid’
Washington, DC – Today, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) wrote to newly installed Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Neil Chatterjee to request swift action on a FERC rule that would help regional energy operators better integrate energy storage and small renewable energy installations like rooftop solar into their grids. The rule would aid operators in bringing renewables online to compete with fossil fuels, and to improve reliability and reduce costs for customers.
“As some of us discussed with you prior to your confirmation, FERC has shown great leadership on energy storage by proposing a rule that would reduce barriers to the participation of energy storage and distributed resource aggregators in energy markets,” the Senators write. “The rulemaking is coming at a critical time for renewable energy.”
The renewable energy industry currently employs over 677,000 Americans and provides 15 percent of our energy supply. “In 2016, renewables led the way for new additions onto our energy grid and these resources are becoming cost competitive with new fossil fuel capacity,” the Senators note.
FERC has completed the notice and comment period for the rule, but could not finalize it until a sufficient number of FERC Commissioners were confirmed. With Chatterjee’s and Commissioner Robert Powelson’s confirmations at the beginning of August, the Commission has regained a quorum and can now move forward with the rule. The Commission is already approving new fossil fuel projects.
Whitehouse and Markey met with Chatterjee before his confirmation to discuss the important role the Commission plays in the growing renewable energy industry and the renewable energy aggregator rule specifically. “Mr. Chatterjee agreed that the Commission should not give short shrift to our renewable energy industry, and that this rule, which is almost done, would not be unduly delayed,” said Whitehouse following the meeting. “He heard our concerns and I will hold him to that commitment.”
As our nation’s energy market regulator, the Commission regulates large energy projects and can promulgate rules that give our states and regional grid operators the guidance they need to revise energy market rules to better accommodate emerging technologies like energy storage into our energy grid. The Commission’s proposed energy storage and distributed energy resource aggregators rule would reduce existing market barriers and better facilitate inclusion of electric storage resources and distributed energy resource aggregators into wholesale electric markets. Solar energy providers support the Commission in proceeding with this rulemaking.
Full text of the letter is below. A PDF copy is available here.
September 22, 2017
Mr. Neil Chatterjee
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street NE
Washington, DC 20426
Dear Chairman Chatterjee:
Congratulations on your Senate confirmation and appointment as FERC chairman. Your leadership will be critical as our energy grid continues to rapidly modernize.
As some of us discussed with you prior to your confirmation, FERC has shown great leadership on energy storage by proposing a rule that would reduce barriers to the participation of energy storage and distributed resource aggregators in energy markets (Docket No. RM16-23-000). This proposed rule would help develop frameworks for how renewables can aggregate together to more effectively participate in energy markets and provide useful guidance to state operators on how to better integrate these resources with existing energy providers. The rulemaking is coming at a critical time for renewable energy. In 2016, renewables led the way for new additions onto our energy grid and these resources are becoming cost competitive with new fossil fuel capacity.
With FERC quorum restored, we request that you work to ensure that this rulemaking moves toward completion as quickly as possible.
We would appreciate an update on your efforts not later than October 13.
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