Earthjustice and SEIA Challenge Grid Operator Rules that Restrict Renewable Energy
Tuesday, Jan 31 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today Earthjustice filed a complaint with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on behalf of Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) challenging a rule that prohibits renewables from providing ancillary services. Ancillary services help grid operators maintain a reliable electricity system, balance supply and demand, ensure reliability during extreme weather events, and help the system recover after a power system outage.
Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (MISO) is the only FERC jurisdictional grid operator to explicitly prohibit wind, solar, and battery hybrid resources from providing ancillary services. MISO serves 45 million people in 15 states and Manitoba. The amount of energy produced from wind and solar is expected to increase significantly in the MISO region in the coming years. Wind, solar, and battery hybrid resources have proven they can provide ancillary services. The temporary prohibition was instituted in 2011 by MISO and never revisited, the complaint seeks to lift this blanket prohibition.
“Regional transmission authorities should not restrict the services that renewables can provide,” said Aaron Stemplewicz, Earthjustice attorney. “FERC must order MISO to reform the current tariff provisions and business practices manual to allow wind and solar resources to participate fully and equitably in MISO’s wholesale market. Earthjustice will also challenge any attempts to strip wind, solar and battery hybrid resources from providing ramp capability. Any backsliding will be rigorously challenged with regard to the eligibility of renewable resources to provide all the services they are capable of providing."
“For the last decade, the MISO has been discriminating against renewable generators, and it’s time that FERC corrects the record and gives renewables a fair shot,” said Melissa Alfano, director of energy markets and counsel at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “The fact is, the grid is changing, and energy markets need to keep up. Renewable assets like solar, storage, and wind have more than proven themselves as reliable, and we need to recognize the full scope of their benefits if we want to rapidly decarbonize in the next 10 years.”
Ancillary services are critical components of ensuring the stability and reliability of the electric grid, as well as enabling the integration of renewable energy sources with variable output. Allowing wind, solar and battery hybrid resources, known as dispatchable intermittent resources, to be eligible to provide ancillary services could lower overall system costs, and could make the grid more reliable and resilient to extreme weather and climate disasters.
MISO plans to file a request with FERC to remove ramp capability eligibility for renewable resources as well. Ramp capability refers to the ability of a power system to quickly increase or decrease its output to accommodate changes in electricity demand. Ramp shortages are the most common cause of short-term scarcities and price spikes.
The Inflation Reduction Act included the largest investment ever in upgrading our energy grid, with plans for advanced transmission and distribution operations. Earthjustice fights alongside our partners to reform energy markets, remove blatant barriers to wind and solar, and ensure that the transmission buildout is done in an equitable way.
The Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA) is leading the transformation to a clean energy economy, creating the framework for solar to achieve 30% of U.S. electricity generation by 2030. SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies and other strategic partners to fight for policies that create jobs in every community and shape fair market rules that promote competition and the growth of reliable, low-cost solar power. Founded in 1974, SEIA is the national trade association for the solar and solar + storage industries, building a comprehensive vision for the Solar+ Decade through research, education and advocacy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org and follow @SEIA on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.
Jen Bristol, SEIA's Senior Director of Communications, [email protected] (202) 556-2886
Kathryn McGrath, Earthjustice's Public Affairs and Communications Strategist for Clean Energy [email protected], (202) 516-6932