New Jersey regulator calls for 'revolutionary' grid after Sandy
Washington (Platts)--12Nov2012/134 pm EST/1834 GMT
Implementing alternatives to traditional electricity infrastructure is
more critical than ever in light of the extended, widespread outages in New
Jersey and New York in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, a New Jersey energy
New Jersey Board of Public Utilities member Joseph Fiordaliso noted at
the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners annual meeting
in Baltimore on Sunday that two-thirds of the state lost electricity because
of the recent extreme weather. Creating the grid of the future, including
distributed generation that could aid in protecting against extreme weather,
has many components, he said.
"It's going to take approaches that are revolutionary," Fiordaliso said.
Noting that the electricity grid in 50 years will look very different from
now, he added that "every step we take is new ground." He also mentioned that
policy goals such as renewable portfolio standards are originating from
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"We're seeing innovation, we're seeing change at the state level,"
State regulators and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon
Wellinghoff discussed at the NARUC meeting ways to incorporate distributed
generation, energy efficiency, demand response and other non-transmission
A recurring theme was a need for a paradigm change in planning policies
and compensation to move forward with more use of distributed generation,
energy efficiency, demand response and microgrids. The discussion also
focused on the controversial topic of how to fairly compensate
non-traditional electricity resources and demand response.
Recycled Energy head of public affairs Dick Munson listed the benefits
of distributed generation, including the ability to ramp up and down quickly
and extremely low outage rates. Recycled Energy Development develops, owns
and operates power projects that harness waste heat.
According to Munson, distributed generation is receiving about 60% of
its value in wholesale markets. Also, DG should be compensated for the
efficiency it creates in reducing transmission line losses, he said. Munson
argued that there are many unappreciated social benefits from technologies
such as waste to heat energy, which recycles heat from manufacturing and
other industrial processes.
Overall, "your procurement processes are designed for very large things
-- they don't work for DG," he told the state regulators. "You need to
reflect the true value in what you pay DG." Munson argued that there are many
unappreciated social benefits from technologies such as waste to heat energy,
which recycles heat from manufacturing and other industrial processes.
Hawaii Public Service Commission member Michael Champley said
distributed generation is hindered by a lack of market access, revenue
streams, jurisdictional issues and a "transmission culture." There is not a
level playing field for distributed generation at the regional level, because
regional operators are worried about infringing on state jurisdiction on
"There needs to be a voice a the regional transmission planning level,
that says 'hey, let's get together and work on this,'" Champley said.
FERC's Wellinghoff in an interview said that he thinks many people will
be turning toward distributed generation in coming years, especially that
fired by natural gas. There is going to be pushback to implementing new
technologies, Wellinghoff said, adding that "it's going to be a huge fight."
--Jason Fordney, email@example.com
--Edited by Carla Bass, firstname.lastname@example.org