On July 16, 2009, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Policy Statement on smart grid technologies, providing guidance on future smart grid interoperability standards and establishing an interim incentive rate policy that applies to near-term smart grid deployments (even those used in pilot or demonstration projects).  Notably, FERC identified four technologies as being key to smart grid development:  (1) digital devices and software that provide system operators with the near real-time ability to react to bulk power system conditions; (2) demand response; (3) electric storage devices, such as batteries and pumped storage, that will help integrate new resources into the grid; and (4) electric vehicles.  FERC intends that these technologies will inform both the smart grid standards development process as well as the Department of Energy’s release of stimulus funds available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.   

In addition, FERC established an interim rate policy that, once certain showings are made, will provide public utilities with the ability to recover the costs of FERC-jurisdictional smart grid technologies and the legacy systems being replaced.  The interim rate policy also allows public utilities to apply accelerated depreciation to smart grid deployments and recover the full cost of smart grid technologies that are later abandoned or made obsolete.  Public utilities seeking incentive rate treatment must file an appropriate application with FERC before it adopts smart grid interoperability standards.

For more information on FERC’s Policy Statement, click here for our recently-released client alert.

If you would like to read the Policy Statement itself, click here.