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Democratic Senators Urge FERC to Act on Distributed Energy Resources (DERs)


In February, a group of 17 Democratic U.S. Senators (as well as Bernie Sanders, who is officially an Independent) sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee (FERC) urging action on Distributed Energy Resources (DERs). The letter can be read in full here, but essentially this group of Senators urged FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee to adopt a rule that would require Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs) to open their markets to allow the participating of aggregated DERs. 

Most of these Senators had signed a similar letter last year to then-Chairman Kevin McIntyre after FERC had held a conference on this exact topic. However after that conference and since then, there has not been any action taken on the matter. 

The crux of the argument in this letter is that FERC has already required RTOs and ISOs to open their markets to energy storage resources, and a similar allowance regarding DERs would further enhance the reliability, resilience, and costs of power in the total energy grid. 

While energy policy remains in the headlines today thanks to the Green New Deal and its related focus in the upcoming 2020 Presidential election, there doesn't seem to be quite the swell of attention on this matter. I'm curious to get the Energy Efficiency Community of Energy Central's take on the matter-- should FERC open up RTOs and ISOs to DERs? What benefits would it bring to utilities and to end consumers? What would be the negative consequences? Is this issue one that should be pushed more to the forefront?

Matt Chester's picture

Thank Matt for the Post!

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