LDES Council Statement on FERC Rules for Boosting Grid Reliability of Bulk Power Systems

FERC has finalized two rules to help improve reliability of bulk power systems against threats of extreme weather, which is another reminder that system reliability has become a crucial and urgent issue across US energy systems.

The US is facing a major challenge due to its fragmented grid, which does not have sufficient connection points or capacity to enable the increase in renewable energy sources required to meet our climate targets – with FERC stating this ‘may cause unacceptable risk to life and economic harm’.

These issues are exacerbated by a significant increase in extreme heat and cold weather conditions, which further impact on system resilience and cause issues for communities every day.

However, there is technology acting as a solution now. 

Long duration energy storage (LDES) can help to ensure the reliability of our grids for decades to come, by storing energy from wind, solar and other clean sources for an extended period of time – from four hours through to seasonal storage – in an affordable, reliable and sustainable way. And, significantly, this technology is readily available today.

However, for LDES to truly flourish, there are several key areas in which utilities and government must make changes.

First, we need to see improvements to inclusive and long-term grid planning, acknowledging the dispatchability and flexibility of LDES, thus relieving grid congestion. LDES brings silos (IRP, criteria, and other input components) together to coordinate and integrate renewable energy onto the grid, generating the resiliency and security needed to scale clean energy resources to reach net zero goals.

Further, policy must be updated to establish clear signals to help existing markets improve system needs and allow for grid reinforcements and flexibility to match climate dependent generation. This, paired with better allowance for storage as a transmission asset, which will also provide a tool for congestion management, will not only increase market support but ensure that LDES is treated the same as other technologies. This is key to incentivizing greater flexibility to support the increase in renewable power. 

Equally, more must be done to allow for the allocation of LDES benefits for load management and interconnection, especially for cross border reliability which will bolster energy security and accessibility.

LDES is the missing piece of the clean energy transition and now is the time to remove any barriers that could prevent it from realizing its full potential.