Texas city and flag

“Allowing Utilities to own and operate non-transmission or non-distribution alternatives creates two inefficient conditions that a competitive supplier can resolve.” The Wind Coalition.

For the past year, the Texas Public Utility Commission debated Project 48023, a proposal which would allow utilities to store energy. Earlier this year, the PUC put 48023 on hold. Now, sources with whom Energy Pages corresponded said that there’s a chance the PUC could take up the issue again before the year is out.

Since Feb. 5, 2018, there have been 69 filings regarding Project 48023, or, “Rulemaking to address the use of non-traditional technologies in electric delivery service.” The project’s goal, according to documents, is to determine a variety of factors that may or may not come into play if utilities could use non-traditional technology like battery storage.

The PUC put out a public notice of request for comments in September, the first memorandum filed for the project.

The first question listed in the call for opinions was, “Apart from energy storage, what non-traditional technologies could provide a potentially cost-effective solution to reliability issues on a utility’s transmission or distribution system?”

Subsequent questions the PUC wanted to tackle were just as interesting. For example, the PUC wants to explore whether or not transmission and distribution utilities have the legal authority to use “non-traditional” technology devices like batteries to store power.

Furthermore, the call for opinions says the PUC wanted to clear up whether or not its “appropriate” for transmission and distribution utilities to store energy in batteries in order to stabilize their grid’s reliability in times of high demand.

As part of their fact-finding mission, the PUC requested that utilities who use battery storage or who plan to use it need to “explain the purpose, use, metering, and deployment of these technologies.”

Multiple energy companies around the state offered their answers to the PUC’s questions. One such response came from The Wind Coalition, who offered the following conclusion regarding the PUC’s questions:

“Allowing Utilities to own and operate non-transmission or non-distribution alternatives creates two inefficient conditions that a competitive supplier can resolve. First, a competitive provider can ensure that the full value, including Energy and Ancillary Services, is realized in the market rather than just a reliability service. Second, the investment risk of the assets is properly shifted from the rate base onto the competitive supplier.” said The Wind Coalition.

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