Demand Response

Unexpected support for demand response from the Supreme Court


A surprise proponent of clean energy?

A while back the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court, handed all those dedicated to clean energy a surprise victory. The court upheld the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) demand response rule.

The Demand Response Rule

FERC is an independent agency which regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil. Created in 2011 the rule mandates utilities compensate its customers for reducing their use of electricity during peak hours — when most people use their electricity. Electricity producers and grid operators challenged the rule in court, saying FERC overstepped its authority.

The concept became widespread because wholesale market operators can sometimes can offer electricity both more cheaply and more reliably by paying users to dial down their consumption than by paying power plants to ramp up their production.

Energy professional state demand response is an excellent way to integrate large amounts of variable energy resources, like wind and solar, into the electric grid.

FERC’s Authority

The court decided FERC’s authority extends to wholesale power markets. The question was raised because according to the its website FERC does not regulate the sale of electricity and natural gas to consumers. Various intermediaries between from where our power is produced to where it is consumed, including wholesale, where should the line be drawn as to extent of FERC’s jurisdiction? The ruling now provides clarification. Ultimately, this will allow more demand response to become stable of our energy management systems.

Here’s to the justice’s – support for demand response

There are occasions where policy is one of the biggest inhibitors to the adoption of alternative energy technologies. It’s nice to realize just for once the highest court in the land chose to do the right thing.