Third-Party Aggregation Rulemaking in MISO and SPP Footprints

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The report highlights key considerations for retail regulators in the footprints of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) or Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) in states that previously opted out of allowing third-party aggregation participation under FERC Order 719 and that may want to explore reversing the decision due to a changing policy environment under new FERC orders (i.e., 2222) and/or tightening resource adequacy constraints.

Through a document review and a series of 27 interviews with regulators, aggregators, and other industry professionals, this document provides a high-level policy overview of the retail regulator’s role in a selection of processes, rules, and regulations to better understand how states have treated and/or integrated aggregators into wholesale markets. The report summarizes findings in two sections: General Findings and Specific Policy Findings.

The General Findings offer high level takeaways such as the fact that 17 of the 20 states in MISO and SPP footprints opted out of third party aggregations following Order 719. Additionally, there is only one state that is fully restructured in the MISO and SPP footprints whereas the rest are vertically integrated, and the majority of third-party aggregations in the U.S. take place in restructured states outside of these footprints. Even so, third-party aggregations do take place in MISO and SPP albeit in small numbers and in an ad hoc regulatory environment.

The specific policy findings delve deeper into specific examples of state actions on the topics of jurisdiction, registration and licensing, data governance, dual participation, and dispute resolution. Tables in each category organize state actions into Tiers I-III, which roughly correspond to the possible level of involvement or possible change necessary by state regulators and/or legislators to implement these actions. The tier level does not indicate any value judgement, as each state has respective regulatory limitations and each decision comes with various tradeoffs. One main tradeoff is between simplicity and quick implementation versus comprehensive and prolonged implementation. In many cases, actions in Tier I could be implemented without significant changes by relying on the use of existing processes for an aggregator context. On the other hand, many actions in Tier III are more narrowly designed to address aggregators specifically, but often require more significant changes including the involvement of additional parties through stakeholder engagement or legislative action. In some cases, these tiers are discrete. However, state regulators may also choose to progress through these various tiers sequentially as they phase in aggregators while learning from their experience.

With the ability to stack bulk system level services, distributed energy resource aggregations in MISO and SPP could provide various private benefits (e.g., increased value streams to the owner) as well as societally beneficial grid services (e.g., peaking capacity, ancillary services, and other services that increase the grid’s overall operational efficiency). In deciding how to best to enable these benefits, states and retail regulators must weigh various tradeoffs if considering reversing a previous opt out.

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