Attorney General Becerra Supports Orders Removing Barriers to Battery and Other Electric Storage Resources’ Participation in Wholesale Electricity Markets

Monday, February 10, 2020
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SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey led a coalition of five attorneys general and the California Air Resources Board in filing an amicus brief in the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in support of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) orders directing power grid operators to remove barriers to the participation of electric storage resources in wholesale electricity markets. Increased participation of storage resources, such as large-scale batteries, is expected to increase competition, reduce demand for electricity generated by fossil fuels, and lower household electric bills. The coalition’s brief in the case, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, et al. v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, argues that FERC was well within its authority in issuing the orders.

“Here in California, we believe in tearing down barriers – not building new ones,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Removing unnecessary barriers to entry into the wholesale electric market will increase competition, lower prices, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game, and FERC’s orders will provide much-needed benefits to both consumers and the environment.”

 “Increasing the role that energy storage resources play in our markets will help lower electricity bills, reduce pollution, and support our thriving $14 billion clean energy economy in Massachusetts,” said Attorney General Healey. “We urge the court to uphold FERC’s orders so states can build on these investments and accelerate the essential transition to an energy system without dangerous greenhouse gas emissions.”

For decades, California has been at the forefront of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combatting climate change. As part of its leadership, California has utilized its authority under the Federal Power Act to regulate energy generation facilities and implement clean energy policies. FERC’s orders enhance the ongoing efforts of California and other states to maximize the generation and use of renewable energy by enabling storage resources to easily integrate into the wholesale electricity market. Previously, many power grid operators created unnecessary barriers to their participation. Expanding the use of storage resources, which often store energy generated by renewable sources such as wind and solar, will help reduce emissions at a critical juncture in the climate crisis. Furthermore, increased use of storage resources is expected to lower consumers’ electric bills through more competition while strengthening the flexibility, reliability, and resilience of the electric grid.

In the brief, the coalition argues that integrating storage resources into wholesale electricity markets will have both environmental and economic benefits. The coalition strongly rejects the argument that the orders exceed FERC’s regulatory authority under the Federal Power Act, while clarifying the scope of state jurisdiction over storage resources. California has played an active role in regulating the generation; local distribution and transmission; and retail sales of electricity without intruding on FERC’s jurisdiction and intends to continue to exercise its authority under the Federal Power Act to further California’s climate goals and protect the state’s consumers.

In filing the amicus brief, Attorneys General Becerra and Healey are joined by the attorneys general of Michigan, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia, and the California Air Resources Board.

A copy of the amicus brief can be found here.

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