FERC may open up markets for Distributed Energy Resources and storage

“FERC has already taken some steps to open power markets to DERs. For instance, a couple of years ago it issued Order 745, which said that RTOs have to treat demand-response aggregators the same way they treat power plants. (That order was quite controversial; it went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of FERC.)”

“Last week, however, FERC went further, proposing a new rule that would represent a huge step forward for DERs.

The details are somewhat technical, but here’s the short version.

For every different kind of source that participates in energy markets, RTOs develop a “participation model,” which FERC defines as “a set of tariff provisions that accommodate the participation of resources with particular physical and operational characteristics.”

That’s a complicated way of saying that every source participates in markets based on rules designed for that source.

The new rule is in two parts. The first part instructs RTOs to come up with a participation model for electricity storage. The second instructs them to come up with a participation model for DERs.

FERC is telling all the RTOs that they have to allow distributed energy into their markets.

Part of doing that means recognizing the different value streams (“unique attributes”) that these resources provide the grid. Different DERs provide a wide range of different energy services. There’s electricity, of course, but there’s also frequency regulation, capacity, storage, demand response, and more. (You don’t need to know what all these are; suffice to say, they help make the grid more stable and resilient.)”

“Some RTOs are ahead of the game on this. CAISO, in California, already has special tariffs set up for “Non-Generator Resources.” But in other regions of the country, markets for distributed energy and storage have been hampered by lack of structured access to larger markets.

This rule is going to open that up. It could help kick of a fundamental shift in the way power markets work. Where a few large generators now dominate, soon there may be hundreds, thousands of resources of every size and nature bidding into those markets. Rather than relying on physical scale, DERs will rely on intelligence, on smart, responsive software that links them together and gives them virtual scale. It’s going to be fascinating.

The proposed rule now enters a 60-day comment period, after which it will be scrapped, amended, or issued as an Order.”

Anyone want to fund my super car idea?

If I started a #GoFundMe to add the following to my @VW #GTI would anyone contribute?

I'm thinking a combo of @proteanelectric’s electric wheels, an autonomous driving package (@TeslaMotors will you sell me one??), an electrolysis cell to produce oxyhydrogen gas for more complete and thus cleaner engine burn, thin film photovoltaics on the roof and hood, and regenerative braking for starters. Would this be cheaper than buying a new Tesla Model 3 with the $8,000 autonomous upgrade? If we can fund that, next I’d replace some of the heavier components with carbon fiber, add a thermoelectric generator to produce electricity when the car is baking on a hot day, and maybe some kind of advanced nanofoam bumpers (are those a thing yet??).

This would turn my front wheel drive GTI into a super-light, super-safe, super-fuel efficient AWD (with all 4 wheels potentially being able to work independently), hybrid gas-electric vehicle, with regenerative braking, self-driving, electricity generation (from solar), and super efficient combustion (from oxyhydrogen gas injection).

Just skimmed the President’s Executive Order 13693: Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade

Boo!!! Not a single mention of agriculture, biodiversity, or the messed up nitrogen/phosphorus cycles. We mostly see this obsession with the carbon cycle and the insane idea that if we reduce emissions we can avoid catastrophic climate change (to be fair water gets a good amount of attention too, but the thinking around it is still all wrong). If we radically changed our agricultural system we could, dare I say, easily sequester enough carbon to get us to pre-1990 levels, while staving off mass extinction, and bringing all the nutrient cycles back into alignment. If Big Oil got their heads out of their asses (or rather their mile deep geologic CO2 injection wells) long enough to realize this and get behind it, they could give themselves a few more decades of pumping without the public hating their guts.

See Mark Shepard’s New Forest Farm, and Grant Shultz’s Versaland Farm for examples of how we should be doing agriculture. We need to slow, spread, and sink water on a watershed scale. We need to let animals out of the factories and graze them over the land in dense packs rotating them through smaller pastures for shorter periods of time.

Here’s a link to the Executive Order

I really hope this becomes a thing

I toured AACT’s pilot project at Stoltz lumber in Kalispell, MT last January. Still one of my favorite new companies, and not just because they were started in my hometown.

AACT: Super Smart Integrated Biosystems

A short video about Algae Aqua-Culture Technologies, based in my hometown the Flathead Valley of Montana

Algae + sunlight + any waste woody materials (leftovers from a lumber mill, agricultural harvest remainders, forest damage, invasive species to name a few)


– 4 different kinds of fuel (can be turned into enough electricity to power 100 homes)

– Reclaim hundreds of gallons of water each day from the wood

– Produce 2 tons of organic fertilizing soil amendment each week, which adds not only the nitrogen, potassium, and phosphate plants need, but also returns carbon, minerals, and micronutrients to the soil

– can capture waste CO2 emissions from an industrial smoke stack and feed it to the algae

– Has a half acre of vertical farming space so you can grow food all year round in virtually any climate

– 6 green power houses (less than 1 acre and ~60,000 sq. ft.) could power an entire mill site or light industrial plant, eliminating the need for a furnace and smokestack system

– 1 green power house payback period: 5 years

– 6 green power houses payback period: 2 years