HINGHAM, Mass., Sept. 28, 2018 — An unusually hot and humid Labor Day put the reliability of New England’s bulk power grid to the test for the first time since the region’s grid operator introduced new market rules known as Pay for Performance (PFP).
Under the rules, generating resources, including intermittent resources like solar and wind, can be either penalized for underperformance, or paid for over performance, during capacity shortage events.
On September 3, the Independent System Operator for New England (ISO-NE) declared such an event when outages at two large natural gas units combined with higher than forecast demand threatened to destabilize the grid.
The temperature and dew points in Boston peaked at 94 and 73 respectively, relative to forecasts of 89 and 70. In Hartford, the temperature and dew points reached 94 and 74, relative to forecasts of 90 and 71. The demand for power soared across the six state region as a result.
Genbright, an asset management company based in Hingham that specializes in Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), responded to the scarcity event, which lasted for more than 2.5 hours.
Although the performance interval lasted well past peak solar production, Genbright’s DER portfolio, which includes solar and demand response performed well, and based on preliminary reports, is expected to earn positive pay for performance payments.
In addition to proving the suitability of stand-alone solar for participation in capacity markets under the PFP construct, details of the scarcity event suggest that the benefits will be even greater when solar production is managed along with co-located energy storage. This is important because regulators in Massachusetts just approved new incentives for solar and energy storage yesterday as part of the SMART program. SMART, which stands for Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target, was designed to bring an additional 1,600 megawatts of solar online. A significant share of this new solar is likely to be co-located with energy storage projects.
According to Genbright, performance data from the event provides insights into how solar plus storage projects can be actively managed to perform capacity supply obligations over a long duration event. The implications of this also provide a new perspective on storage and its role in providing reliability when co-located with solar.
“The capacity event in early September provided valuable new information that will help us derive strategies for managing co-located solar and energy storage projects in real time to meet capacity obligations for extended durations,” said Joe Crespo, CEO of Genbright. “For example, these strategies could make it possible to meet our obligations during events that last more than two hours, even when co-locating solar with a battery that only stores two hours of energy.”
The lessons learned during Labor Day’s scarcity event is good news for the New England market and demonstrates the increasingly important role that solar, storage and other DERs will play in providing reliability and resource diversity to the bulk power grid.
Contact Information Joe Crespo [email protected] m: (617) 571-0133