What the grid needs – really?

Utility Dive this morning posted an opinion piece with this lead-in, quote: “This week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) kicks off a series of technical conferences on “Modernizing Electricity Market Design” with an examination of the role of centralized capacity markets in meeting resource adequacy and reliability needs in a rapidly changing electricity sector.”

That got my attention.

Here’s the problem statement at high level, quote: “Comprehensive examination of the existing capacity markets and their role in the future is long overdue. While these markets met the resource adequacy and reliability challenges that drove their creation in the early 2000s, they have not kept pace with dramatic changes in the electricity industry over the last decade, and will need to satisfy new and different resource adequacy and reliability requirements as the industry moves toward a carbon-free future.” (my bold)

The authors then propose some principles to frame the potential solutions coming from the conferences mentioned, quote:

  1. Support the ability of states and customers to meet their clean energy targets while ensuring system reliability. 
  2. Preserve regional competition through an open, transparent and fair market structure that allows clean resources to provide capacity and other reliability attributes.
  3. Ensure that the resource adequacy value of clean energy resources is captured and compensated and reverse the increasing trend of divorcing clean energy procurement from capacity/resource adequacy procurement (i.e., seek to harmonize the two).
  4. Attract and support clean resources that will meet the differentiated resource adequacy, reliability and flexibility needs of a high renewables and advanced energy system (including non-energy intensive resources), while facilitating the orderly retirement of high-emitting and inflexible resources.
  5. Ensure that the market is transparent, durable, transactable, well-understood, and provides actionable price signals.

This is all well and good … but talk is easy and actions take political and financial courage – neither of which US has demonstrated recently.

They close with this call to action, quote: “Retooling capacity markets and resource adequacy mechanisms for the future will not be easy. But momentum is building toward solutions that satisfy the clean energy objectives of states and customers and leverage the benefits of regional competition to reduce costs and ensure continued reliability. Let’s capitalize on that momentum – and get to work.”

I sincerely the people able to act are listening and willing to do so … else, all this clean technology will rot if distribution is not maintained or possible.

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