FERC Smart Grid plan would affect power generators

By David Wagman
Chief Editor

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week issued a 40-page draft "Smart Grid Policy." Power generators nationwide could be affected by the policy's call to develop standards to address the large amounts of renewable energy resources likely to be developed in coming years and the eventual deployment of plug-in electric vehicles.

Public comment on the draft is being accepted. FERC's proposed policy is part of Docket No. PL09-4-000 issued March 19. It was published in the Federal Register and at the Commission's web page at www.ferc.gov.

FERC said smart grid advancements will apply digital technologies to the grid and enable real-time information coordination from generation resources, demand resources and distributed energy resources.

The smart grid concept envisions a power system that permits two-way communication between the grid and essentially everything connected to it, including generation and large consumer appliances.

FERC said interoperability will enhance the bulk power system's efficiency at the same time it enables tools such as demand response systems to help consumers better manage energy use.

Interoperability will also help integrate "significant new renewable power" into the transmission system and support state and federal efforts to promote still more renewable energy.

According to the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC), the U.S. had 25,170 MW of nameplate wind capacity installed as of December. NERC said another 145,000 MW of wind power projects are planned or proposed over the next 10 years. Some parts of the bulk power system may need to integrate what FERC described as "unprecedented amounts of variable generation resources." Such integration is significant because operators of variable generation have less control over when the resource is available to produce electricity.

FERC Mandate
The draft policy comes as part of FERC's responsibility under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to adopt standards and protocols to ensure smart grid functionality and interoperability in transmission as well as in regional and wholesale energy markets.

Large amount of variable generation raise several operational and planning issues, including:

• Resource adequacy
• Resource management
• Reduced system inertia

FERC said a variety of solutions may be feasible, including deploying large amounts of storage, which it said could address both resource adequacy and resource management concerns. However, technical and economic issues remain to be addressed before such investment is likely to become significant.

Addressing resource management, the FERC draft policy highlighted the problem of potential over-generation, which can occur during off-peak periods when load is at its lowest and system operators have turned off all but their largest conventional units. If large amounts of variable generation begin producing during these times, then the electricity supply could exceed demand and risk unbalancing the bulk power system.

To keep the system in balance under such conditions, operators may be forced to require variable generation to reduce output. FERC said the downside is that the variable generation may be producing the lowest-priced energy on the system.

A system allowing entities to receive timely signals to shift their demand and allowing such load shifts to be controlled by the system operator could ease concerns with over-generation.

"The urgency to develop and implement those aspects of a smarter grid that can enable such demand response capability is clear," FERC said.

Plug-in Vehicles
FERC also addressed electricity-powered vehicles and their potential affect on the grid and power generators.

"Judging by the observed intensity of electric utility and state government interest in this area, the potential for a significant shift in personal transportation to electric power in the near future cannot be discounted."

Ultimately, FERC said, large numbers of plug-in vehicles have the potential to provide some ancillary services like distributed energy storage or regulation services, when aggregated.

FERC said the smart grid's enhanced information processing and high-speed communications and control capabilities would prove "extremely helpful, perhaps necessary" in dealing with the challenges and opportunities associated with large numbers of new electric vehicles on the bulk power system.

Frameworks and Standards
The FERC draft policy proposes to prioritize development of standards for cyber security and a "common semantic framework and software models" to "enable effective communication and coordination." It also proposes to develop standards for wide-area situational awareness (which it defines as the visual display of systems conditions in near real time at the reliability coordinator level and above), demand response, electric storage and electric transportation.

Addressing energy storage, FERC said the only significant electricity storage technology to date has been pumped storage hydroelectric technology. New storage technologies are under development, however, which could provide "substantial value" to the electric grid.

Turning to electric transportation, FERC said maintaining reliable operation of the bulk power system will require some level of control over when and how electric cars draw electricity off of the system.

"Ultimately we would hope for a smarter grid to accommodate a wide array of advanced options for electric vehicle integration with the grid, including full vehicle-to-grid capabilities," FERC said.

Sponsored by FLSmidth
Related Articles

Wisconsin Electric gets no bids to buy Presque Isle coal plant

Wisconsin Electric Power hasn't gotten any purchase bids at this point off a recent request for proposals (RFP) that it issued for the coal-fired Presque Isle power plant in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Gas, renewables account for new generation additions in February

Basin Electric Power Cooperative has commissioned its 45-MW Pioneer 2 peaking unit in North Dakota and it was the largest conventional peaking plant to come online during February as renewables accounted for the rest of the new generation.

Follow Power Engineering on Twitter
Latest News

NRC Issues White Finding for Entergy Nuclear Power Plant in Louisiana

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a white finding to the River Bend nuclear...

POWER-GEN International 2015: Transition and Transformation

It's the largest annual forum for the power generation industry.

Rethinking Steel-Plate Composite (SC) Construction for Improved Sustainability and Resiliency of Nuclear Power Plant Structures

The March 2011 events at Fukushima nuclear power plant have underscored the importance of res...

Cook Nuclear Generating Station Crane Installation Saves Outage Time and Dollars

Retrofitting nuclear power plant turbines has a positive impact on long-term plant reliabilit...

Fundamental Issues: Nuclear Generators Lead Cyber Security

We have all heard the phrase "oh that's for nuclear - they're different." While nuc...

Under the Big Tent (Maybe)

You may not see them, but many tents are being pitched around the world. A number of climate-...

Operating nuclear plants beyond 60 years, new project updates & more at NUCLEAR POWER International 2015

Nuclear power plants around the world are shutting down and operating longer. Electricity pri...
Green groups sue EPA over particulate matter in key Western states

Green Groups Sue EPA Over Particulate Matter in Key Western States

The Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Environmental Health and Neighbors for Clean ...

Power Engineering Current Issue

Volume 119, Issue 9
Products Showcase
Areva delivers reactor vessel head to Belgium nuclear power plant

Areva delivers reactor vessel head to Belgium nuclear power plant

Areva delivered a nuclear reactor vessel head to Electrabel for Unit 4 at the Doel nuclear power plant in Belgium.

GE announces launch of latest aeroderivative gas turbine, LM6000-PF+

GE announces launch of latest aeroderivative gas turbine, LM6000-PF+

GE is launching its latest aeroderivative gas turbine, the LM6000-PF+, which employs technologies from four GE businesses, bringing power online faster and more efficiently than ever before.

Dynamic Fluoride Ion cleaning DFIC of industrial natural gas turbines Hi-Tech Furnace Systems

Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning of IGT Parts

The Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning (DFIC) Process from Hi-Tech Furnace Systems is able to clean deep, narrow cracks of oxides by cycling between negative, atmospheric, and positive pressure.

Archived Articles

2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015

Power Industry Wire News

Fortress Offers Registered Investment Advisors, Accredited & Qualified Investors and Certified Financial Planners the Opportunity to Invest in Low-Risk, High-Return Eagle Ford Shale Oilfield Disposal Centers

Fortress Offers Registered Investment Advisors, Accredited & Qualified Investors and Ce...

Electroactive Polymers Market to Reach $6.38 Billion by 2022: Grand View Research, Inc.

Electroactive Polymers Market to Reach $6.38 Billion by 2022: Grand View Research, Inc.

Cardinal Resources Signs LOI With Chinese Firm for Major Equity Investment, Asian Distribution JV and Global Support

Cardinal Resources Signs LOI With Chinese Firm for Major Equity Investment, Asian Distr...

Emerald Oil Announces Redetermination of Its Borrowing Base

Emerald Oil Announces Redetermination of Its Borrowing Base

Hemp, Inc. Reports on Hemp Industry News

Hemp, Inc. Reports on Hemp Industry News

Power Engineering

Article Archives for Power Engineering Magazine

Continuing Education

Professional Development Hours

To access a course listing associated to a specific topic listed below, click on the topic of choice from the list below.

Latest Energy Jobs

View more Job Listings >>