Senators call on FERC to support smart-grid tech

  • August 24, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

Twelve Democrat senators in the USA, led by New Mexico’s Martin Heinrich (pictured), have called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to support incentives that promote the use of smart-grid technologies.
In a letter to FERC chairperson Neil Chatterjee, they say the technologies can improve the capacity and efficiency of the existing transmission grid, often with large savings to consumers.
“As the commission finalises new policies for electric transmission incentives, we urge you to incorporate performance-based incentives that promote the use of smart grid technologies that improve the capacity and efficiency of the existing transmission grid,” the letter says. “While some additional transmission infrastructure will be required to support the transition to a clean energy economy, in many cases there are more cost-effective technologies that can be deployed quickly to improve grid operation. We believe the final rule should provide targeted incentives for deployment of advanced grid-enhancing technologies that improve operations and lower costs for consumers.”
The letter continues: “We strongly believe FERC’s transmission policies must ensure that the full range of non-wires options are fairly considered as part of all proposed upgrades in transmission capacity. Among these options are commercial smart-grid technologies that can deliver more power over existing lines or reduce transmission congestion, including power flow control, dynamic line ratings, storage-as-transmission and topology optimisation.”
As well as Heinrich, the other senators that signed the letter are Sheldon Whitehouse, Angus King, Joe Machin, Chris Van Hollen, Ron Wyden, Dianne Feinstein, Maggie Hassan, Bernie Sanders, Michael Bennet, Ed Markey and Jeanne Shaheen.