MendoCoastCurrent, July 19, 2009
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) moved to accelerate the development of a smart electric transmission system that could improve the efficiency and operation of the grid. The Smart Grid Policy Statement sets priorities for work on development of standards for the developement of a reliable and smart grid.
Smart grid advancements are digital, enabling two-way communications and real-time coordination of information from both generating plants and demand-side resources. Thus improving the efficiency of the bulk-power system with the goal of achieving long-term savings for consumers. Also providing tools for consumers to control their electricity costs.
The policy issued today tracks the proposed policy issued March 19, 2009 and sets priorities for development of smart grid standards to achieve interoperability and functionality of smart grid systems and devices. It also sets FERC policy for recovery of costs by utilities that act early to adopt smart grid technologies.
“Changes in how we produce, deliver and consume electricity will require ‘smarter’ bulk power systems with secure, reliable communications capabilities to deliver long-term savings for consumers,” FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff said. “Our new smart grid policy looks at the big picture by establishing priorities for development of smart grid standards, while giving utilities that take the crucial early steps to invest in smart grid technologies needed assurance about cost recovery.”
“The new policy adopts as a Commission priority the early development by industry of smart grid standards to:
- Ensure the cybersecurity of the grid;
- Provide two-way communications among regional market operators, utilities, service providers and consumers;
- Ensure that power system operators have equipment that allows them to operate reliably by monitoring their own systems as well as neighboring systems that affect them;
- Coordinate the integration into the power system of emerging technologies such as renewable resources, demand response resources, electricity storage facilities and electric transportation systems.
So early adopters of smart grid technologies will recover smart grid costs if they demonstrate that those costs serve to protect cybersecurity and reliability of the electric system, and have the ability to be upgraded, among other requirements.
And explains that by adopting these standards for smart grid technologies, FERC will not interfere with any state’s ability to adopt whatever advanced metering or demand response program it chooses.