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Texas PUC To Assemble Workshop On DER Pilots, Including Virtual Power Plant; Works To Set Pilot Implementation Date

One Question To Be Addressed Is How Customers May Change REPs During Pilot

June 30, 2022

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Copyright 2010-21
Reporting by Paul Ring •

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Led by Commissioner Will McAdams, the Texas PUC is pursuing a path forward on consideration of distributed energy resource pilots, prompted by a proposed virtual power plant pilot proposed by Tesla

See background concerning Tesla's aggregated load resource virtual power plant "demonstration" in ERCOT in our prior story here

During today's open meeting, McAdams outlined his view on how best to proceed concerning formation and implementation of a DER pilot in ERCOT

Commissioner Jimmy Glotfelty, who will likely co-author a future memo concerning the issues with McAdams (noted further below), stressed that, "This is not a one company pilot."

While the PUC's focus on creating a DER pilot has been prompted by the proposed Tesla virtual power plant, Glotfelty said that, "there's lots of technologies out there, there's lots of opportunities, there's lots of different systems, so we want this to be broad and diverse ... we want to understand the benefits of these different technologies."

McAdams offered three steps for Commission consideration of moving forward with a DER pilot.

McAdams first addressed an approach concerning how to set up the pilot.

McAdams is to form an informal workshop assembling a group of relevant stakeholders at the PUC on July 11 to consider key goals and objectives that are hoped to be accomplished through implementation. The workshop would also discuss issues to be determined by the PUC -- those issues the Commission needs to make decisions on -- in order to launch the pilot

Among other things, McAdams said that these issues include the "interchange of customers", meaning, "if there is a network of retail providers or NOIEs that's availing themselves of the pilot, then how can customers move in-between REPs over the duration of that pilot so that they're not locked in for a number of years under one particular plan, because that would make it unappealing to the broadest possible segment of customers[.]"

Other issues cited by McAdams to be addressed at the workshop are: the scale of the pilot, the duration, the participation of customers, and overall reliability, including the operational interconnection and export dynamics, and how does the PUC overcome those

After such workshop, McAdams and Glotfelty would then expect to issue a joint memo capturing consensus positions on policy that could be addressed within the pilot. This memo could be addressed at the July 14 open meeting for direction and next steps, McAdams said

Second, McAdams proposed a task force. McAdams expects that the above-cited memo will articulate a belief that the PUC needs to form a task force that would discuss and observe implementation of the pilot. Among other things, the task force would address operational obstacles and would help identify Commission policy areas on which the PUC needs to make determinations, and issues for which the PUC needs to give instructions to ERCOT, the TDSPs, and stakeholders concerning the pilot

Third, McAdams said that the PUC needs to set a target implementation date, or season, for the pilot

McAdams said that the working group cited above would be invitation only, simply to make the number of participants manageable given the breadth of the universe of potential stakeholders that could be involved. To the extent stakeholders wish to be considered, McAdams directed interested parties to contact Tiffany Wu on staff in his office

Chairman Peter Lake called McAdams' proposal a good path forward.

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