Interregional grid planning under FERC Order 1000.
Bruce W. Radford is publisher of Public Utilities Fortnightly. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has ruled on the various protocols proposed by the nation’s major grid groups to comply with the commission’s highly controversial, landmark Order 1000 on regional transmission planning, let’s examine the other half of FERC’s vision: the mandate that each region also must coordinate with each of its neighbors to explore ideas for interregional grid projects – projects that might prove superior to those already approved at the regional level.
As we’ll see, interregional planning is proving no less contentious than the regional variety.
Order 1000 required all public utility transmission providers to band together in geographic areas to participate in regional planning to identify and study new grid projects to meet needs posed not just by reliability standards, but also by economics and public policy mandates such as renewable portfolio standards. It also required planners to select certain projects to have their costs allocated across the planning region according to a method to be defined as part of the regional plan, and to make sure that any transmission projects so selected can be built and owned by “non-incumbents” – i.e., developers other than the incumbent load-serving distribution utilities who historically have built and maintained the nation’s electric grid networks.