The following is a contributed article by Ted Thomas, Chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission, and Jeff Dennis, Managing Director and General Counsel at national business group Advanced Energy Economy.
Distributed energy resources (DERs) are rapidly expanding as technologies advance, their costs decline and customers demand more control over their own energy usage.
The rapid deployment of technologies like onsite renewable energy generation, battery storage, fuel cells and electric vehicles, along with enabling consumer devices and software controls, promises to bring significant benefits not only to the customers deploying them, but also for the electricity grid as a whole.
Capturing these benefits requires full utilization of DERs, including the ability to provide both retail and wholesale services.
Integrating DERs in wholesale markets doesn't just provide the customer a potential revenue stream, it provides wholesale grid operators a new set of distributed assets to ensure reliability and resilience against natural and man-made threats to the existing grid. It also improves competition in wholesale markets, ensuring just and reasonable rates for all customers.