FERC accepts ISO-NE solar power rule change

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has accepted an ISO New England proposal to better integrate solar power installations into the regional power grid and wholesale electricity markets.

The ISO made the proposal late last year to accommodate the increasing number of solar installations already connected to and seeking to connect to the regional power grid. With the New England states’ strong renewable energy programs and decarbonization goals, the ISO expects solar installations to continue to grow well into the future.

Until now, grid-connected “front-of-meter” solar facilities have not been dispatchable, meaning they do not receive electronic instructions from the ISO to increase or decrease their electricity output. Instead, ISO system operators had to manually call the solar operators to request any changes in output.

Also, although they are paid the prevailing market rate when they inject electricity into the grid, non-dispatchable resources don’t submit priced offers to produce electricity in New England’s energy markets. As a result, their true costs aren’t reflected in wholesale electricity prices, even when they represent the cheapest source of electricity available to the grid.

The accepted revisions to the ISO’s tariff will make front-of-meter solar installations dispatchable under “do not exceed” (DNE) rules that account for the resources’ variable output and any congestion on the transmission system. The DNE framework was adopted in 2016 but initially applied only to wind farms and hydroelectric dams.

The changes are expected to take effect December 5, 2023.

Industry News & Developments
clean energy, renewable resources, solar, system operations, wholesale markets