Lancium, an energy technology company, has built a new data center in Fort Stockton that is a highly controllable load. It can respond to frequency issues instantaneously and provide ancillary services to ERCOT. Controllable Load Resources are a category of load within the ERCOT market that allow highly responsive loads to interact directly with the ERCOT grid operator, and are then rewarded by the ERCOT market for the services provided.
Sunnova has proposed that it should be able to provide microgrid services to master planned communities in California for solar plus storage and local resiliency. A shared microgrid will allow residents to provide power to each other during grid emergencies, when the bulk power system might not be available due to shortages or wildfires.
Of course, local utilities have pushed back on this; providing grids to communities as a monopoly with a guaranteed rate of return is the business of utilities since Thomas Edison’s days. But good planning can create opportunities to invest in more local resiliency, and perhaps for a lower cost than what is provided by the local monopoly utility. Community microgrids where power is shared across a variety of customers will be an emerging policy issue in the United States over the coming years. This will be useful not just for new communities, but for shared solar and storage in a condo association or apartment complex, or sharing an oversized solar plus storage installation at a local library, fire station, or community center with nearby residents during an emergency.
As reported by PV Magazine, owners of solar + storage at their homes could qualify for additional compensation from their retail electric providers. Companies like Tesla, Shell Energy, and David Energy plan to offer products in the ERCOT retail market so that their customers can provide grid services to ERCOT and receive compensation or a lower energy bill. Although Texas’ ERCOT grid is not regulated by FERC, this demonstrates voluntarily compliance with FERC Order #2222 – and ERCOT is moving more quickly than other ISOs to integrate these devices into their market design. Goff Policy has played an active role in this issue area.