Tag Archives: U.S. Energy Association

FERC and energy demand response

Beyond a smart grid to mix and match the supply solar and wind to get rid of any need for new coal or nuclear plants, as FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff recommended three years ago, FERC also has plans to mix and match demand. Energy customers can volunteer to shut off their air conditioners or clothes dryers automatically if there’s not enough supply. This could facilitate adding solar power, by basically acknowledging that it may not always supply a fixed capacity.

Todd Griset wrote for law firm PretiFlaherty 23 April 2012, FERC seeks demand response standards,

Demand response, an innovative strategy to ensuring the integrity of electric grids, is growing in popularity, prompting federal regulators to consider standardizing how demand response performance is measured.

Managing an electric grid entails ensuring a constant balance between electric generation and customer demand for electricity. As customer demand rises, grid operators have traditionally called on more and more generating units. In most markets, grid operators dispatch the lowest-cost units first to keep overall costs down. As a result, generating units needed to meet peak demand tend to be more expensive than baseload generation. Many peaking units also emit more pollutants per unit of energy than baseload units.

In a demand response program, customers can volunteer to be available to reduce their load during times of peak demand. When done right, this reduction in customer demand can play much the same role as dispatching additional generation, but at a lower cost in dollars and environmental impacts. Energy efficiency resources can also play a similar role.

The U.S. Congress and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have both recognized that demand response can be a decentralized, crowd-sourced alternative to peaking power plants. Utilities and regional transmission organizations across the nation are implementing demand response programs.

Across the nation…. How about it, Georgia Power, and Georgia EMCs? How are your demand response programs coming?


FERC Chairman: baseload outdated; no new nukes needed; go sun and wind

Power companies’ main stated objection to solar or wind is that they are not “capacity” or “baseload” generation because sometimes the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow. And those utilities are required by various state, regional Energy Regulatory Commissions right up to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to supply capacity or baseload power. That’s their main excuse for coal and nuclear plants. Well, the Chairman of FERC thinks we may not need baseload, nor any new coal nor nuclear plants, either.

Noelle Straub and Peter Behr wrote for ScientificAmerican 22 April 2009, Will the U.S. Ever Need to Build Another Coal or Nuclear Power Plant? The new chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission doesn’t think so

No new nuclear or coal plants may ever be needed in the United States, the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said today.

“We may not need any, ever,” Jon Wellinghoff told reporters at a U.S. Energy Association forum.

So what will we need?

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