Washington, D.C., Seeks to Facilitate Microgrid Projects

With Washington, D.C. seeking to deliver 100% renewable energy by 2032, leaders believe that microgrids will be a key component of achieving that goal. For this reason, regulators are considering measures to lighten regulations and rules related to microgrids as a way to facilitate deployment of more renewable energy and storage in the city.

To this end, the city’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued a “notice of inquiry” seeking input on how to develop its regulatory framework for microgrids.

“For microgrids that may fall under our regulatory authority, the threshold question is whether and to what extent we should employ a different paradigm such as ‘lightened regulation’ or ‘light touch or light-handed’ oversight to facilitate deployment,” said the PUC in its notice of inquiry.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) recently defined microgrid as “a group of interconnected loads and distributed energy resources within clearly defined electrical boundaries that act as a single controllable entity with respect to the grid.”

The PSC added, “Due to the vast differences in how microgrids are used, the question of whether we have jurisdiction to regulate a particular microgrid as a public utility necessarily turns on the individual circumstances of each case.”

To this end, the PSC is soliciting public comments regarding the role of the PSC in the regulatory framework of microgrids in the District.

“The goal of seeking stakeholder input to further develop this framework is to provide a higher level of regulatory certainty and transparency into the decision-making process,” the PSC said.

The notice of inquiry contains five questions on which the PSC is seeking input:

1 – What regulations or policies should the PSC consider for microgrids?

2 – What specific standards should microgrids follow to ensure safe design and operation?

3 – Should microgrids be subject to existing Consumer Bill of Rights rules.

4 – If the microgrid is connected to Pepco’s (the local utility’s) distribution system, how would the PSC’s existing interconnection rules apply?

5 – For the customers who are served by a microgrid, should the retail Standard Offer Service rates apply to those customers who are not selecting the third-party competitive suppliers?

Public comments are due to the PSC by August 31.

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