Wednesday, December 22, 2010
FERC's Wellinghoff on Energy in the U.S.
An interesting article in the New York Times titled Making the Consumer An Active Participant in the Grid, by Erica Gies, focuses on the views of Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He believes the average consumer with solar panels, wind energy generators and energy storage systems (in the form of electric cars) could and should be more active in the grid. Here's an excerpt from the article related to energy storage:
Energy storage is another resource that will become more common in this new energy world. Grid-scale storage, which include things like pumped storage hydroelectricity, compressed air, flywheels and large batteries, can help operators better smooth out shifts in supply and demand, whether it be minute by minute or by time of day, week and year. These services will become even more necessary with the widespread deployment of renewable energy.
For the moment, storage developers in most markets have no way of getting paid for these services because storage is not a recognized asset. That could change soon.
“We’re reviewing the economic benefits of storage and how storage should be compensated for the various services it can provide to the grid,” Mr. Wellinghoff said.
He said that beyond grid-scale energy storage, he was “starting to see more and more people who have very creative ideas of using distributed storage in ways that I think will become very economical.”
“For example, the electric cars, which are a kind of storage, benefit the grid because the device, the car, is being primarily used and bought for something else,” he said.
Thermal storage technologies, including ice and ceramic bricks, are also could have a wide effect because they are integrated into the grid and focus on off-peak power.
If you'd like to hear more from Wellinghoff, here's a link to a video of the closing keynote speech that he gave at the U.S. Energy Association's third annual Energy Supply Forum. He spoke about new technologies and innovations for energy, focusing on the supply of resources. He also talked about smart grid benefits and adequate regulation of energy resources.