FERC, Hawaii PUC to exchange information on microgrids, renewable integration

FERC said on Dec. 7 that FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff and Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (HPUC) Chair Hermina Morita have signed an agreement that identifies topics that the commissions will focus on in their initial exchange of information, including the use of microgrids in the state’s Department of Defense facilities.

According to the memorandum of understanding (MOU), signed Nov. 11, initial topics of interest to FERC include:

  • Hawaii’s successes and challenges with large-scale integration of renewable energy resources.
  • The value of distributed resources to the larger grid system in Hawaii.
  • Lessons learned in Hawaii with renewable integration, such as the limitations and barriers to optimum deployment of distributed resources including demand response, energy efficiency and distributed generation.
  • The Hawaii experience with batteries and other storage devices in large-scale renewable integration.
  • The role of smart meters in Hawaii’s utility-scale photovoltaic systems.
  • The experience on Maui with 70 MW of wind deployed in a 170-MW system.

Under the MOU, the initial topics of interest to the HPUC include:

  • Transmission regulatory policy related to inter-island cable systems to interconnect either remotely sited generation and island electric grids, such as development and operation of independent transmission companies, and ratemaking practices related to independent transmission companies.
  • Establishment and enforcement of mandatory reliability standards such as creation and oversight of a Hawaii electricity reliability organization.
  • Regulatory issues associated with the import and use of natural gas in Hawaii including regulation of import terminal facilities.
  • Policies facilitating integration of renewable energy resources with Hawaii’s island electrical grids involving, for instance, deployment of storage resources and interconnection requirements for renewable energy resources including generator performance standards.

FERC said on Dec. 7 that nothing in the MOU requires the commissions to take any action that would be inconsistent with existing or future laws, regulations and policy directives.

“[W]e believe Hawaii is a microcosm of where issues of emerging technology and adaptive regulation must be resolved to advance Hawaii’s clean energy transformation,” Morita said in the FERC statement. “Combining our resources and experiences in this special partnership helps to problem-solve some of the most complex energy challenges in a rapidly changing regulatory environment.”

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3263 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.