Thursday, November 9, 2023

PUC Begins Process To Explore Rulemaking Related To Use Of Distributed Energy Resources And 'Virtual' Power Plants

On November 9, the Public Utility Commission approved a
joint motion by Chairman Stephen M. DeFrank and Vice Chair Kimberly Barrow to initiate an investigation and rulemaking related to Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) as a mechanism to help increase energy efficiency, enhance service and potentially lower costs.

The PUC investigation and rulemaking process will examine PUC regulations and potential regulatory changes related to DERs and examine the upcoming impact of federal rules allowing DER participation in the wholesale energy market, to ensure that Pennsylvania is not left behind.

As noted in the motion, Distributed Energy Resource Aggregations (DERAs) – also known as “Virtual Power Plants” – can deploy many different types of technologies to boost energy efficiency; using available energy when it is the cheapest, cleanest, and most plentiful.

For example, small rooftop solar systems could inject energy into the power grid, while managed charging by electric vehicles could absorb that electricity when it is plentiful – and at the same time smart thermostats or smart water heaters could shift customer demand to a different time of day, depending on the needs of the grid.

The motion also noted that VPPs could save money for customers in the long-term, helping to maintain an adequate supply of power without requiring the construction and maintenance of new and expensive power transmission and distribution infrastructure.

Per the motion, the PUC’s Law Bureau and Bureau of Technical Utility Services will prepare an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for action by the Commission on or before Feb. 28, 2024, detailing any changes or additions needed to PUC regulations or policy statements.

Documents related to this issue can be found at PUC Docket No.: L-3044115.

Related Articles:

-- PUC Seeks More Information On Peoples Gas Over-Pressurization Incident In Indiana County That Damaged Hundreds Of Appliances, Caused Distribution Pipeline Leaks  [PaEN] 

-- PUC Approves 3.15% Increase In Philadelphia Natural Gas Rates, Not 10.2% Requested

-- PUC To Seek Comments On Updates, Revisions To Regulations On Procedures, Formal Proceedings

-- PUC Vice Chair Kimberly Barrow Appointed To Joint Federal-State Task Force On Electric Transmission

-- PUC Chairman Stephen DeFrank To Kick-Off 2023 Tri-Region ‘Be Utility Wise’ Train The Trainer Conference In Harrisburg

[Posted: November 9, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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