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Wednesday
Jul122017

Consumer Liaison Group discusses distributed generation at June 2017 meeting

The Consumer Liaison Group held its most recent quarterly meeting on June 1 in York, Maine. The meeting featured keynote speaker Timothy Schneider, Public Advocate at the Maine Office of the Public Advocate; an update from ISO New England; and a panel discussion, Understanding Distributed Generation’s Impact on Grid Operations and Regional Planning.

Keynote Address

Keynote speaker Timothy Schneider described efforts his office conducted with a variety of stakeholders to move beyond solar net-metering, which he said is not a suitable long-term policy for distributed energy resources (DER). He also commented on the challenges of getting solar into the market and working with the ISO and other stakeholders to understand how to lessen the barriers to solar participation in wholesale markets. He explained that the state’s status as a “late mover” on solar created an opportunity to learn from other states and craft a comprehensive approach. Ultimately, however, legislation he supported to change Maine’s solar policies was vetoed in 2016.

Panel Discussion

Agnes Gormley, Deputy Public Advocate at the Maine Office of the Public Advocate and a member of the CLG Coordinating Committee, moderated a panel of energy industry representatives to discuss the impact that distributed generation is having on grid operations and regional planning.

  • Jonathan Black, Manager, Load Forecasting, System Planning, ISO New England, explained that New England has experienced significant growth in solar photovoltaic (PV) resources, more are expected, and that the ISO is leading efforts to account for solar PV resources connected to the distribution system.
  • Timothy Roughan, Director of Energy and Environmental Policy, National Grid, discussed the variety of ways that more than 700 MW of solar have been deployed on the National Grid distribution system, saying solar has become so popular that his company sees about as many applications for distributed generation as it does for natural gas.
  • D. Maurice Kreis, Consumer Advocate, New Hampshire Office of the Consumer Advocate, listed “10 Consumer-Oriented Hypotheses” regarding distributed generation, which include the idea that distributed generation should be valued in ways similar to large infrastructure, such as transmission lines.
  • Fortunat Mueller, P. E., Co-Founder and Managing Partner, ReVision Energy, said he believes the technology and science already exist to provide consumers with the services they want, with the environmental attributes they want, and that regulation and policies need to change to support their use.

ISO New England Update

Anne George, Vice President for External Affairs and Corporate Communications at ISO New England, provided the ISO New England update.

A full summary of the meeting, as well as the speakers’ presentations, can be found here.

Future Meetings

The next meeting of the Consumer Liaison Group will be on Thursday, September 7 in Vermont. Registration for that event will be available here.