New Hampshire rethinks distributed generation-only pilots for non-wires alternatives
- New Hampshire regulators have suspended any distributed generation-only pilots developed as part of the state's efforts to establish the locational value of resources. Regulators said they were persuaded that a wider range of resources should have been considered.
- Last year, the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission approved new net metering tariffs, though they are expected to be updated following the study on distributed energy resource valuation.
- Instead of broadening the pilots to allow an unrestricted range of distributed resources, regulators have called for a distribution-level study of locational distributed generation (DG) valuation to be filed by staff within three months.
The New Hampshire PUC, responding to concern from a range of stakeholders, is backtracking on a plan to develop distributed generation-only pilots aimed at finding non-wires alternatives (NWA). Utilities, staff and others said that without the inclusion of other distributed energy resources (DERs), like energy storage, efficiency and demand response, the study would be unlikely to yield much useful information.
A joint group of utilities, including Eversource Energy, also told regulators that an NWA pilot that included only distributed generation "is unlikely to yield cost-effective and meaningful insights into the ability of DG to avoid or defer traditional utility investments."
Regulators agreed and immediately suspended the development and implementation of any DG-only NWA pilot programs. They moved to launch a distribution-level locational DG valuation study, concluding it "would be more useful and cost-effective." The commission's order directs parties in a working group on the issue "to evaluate alternative study designs and methodologies to address the potential locational value of DG on the utility distribution system."
The PUC also noted that it was "not persuaded" that unrestricted NWAs open to all DERs "represent an effective means of obtaining relevant data regarding the locational value of DG on utility distribution systems." The commission deferred consideration of unrestricted NWA implementation to another context, "such as grid modernization or utility integrated resource planning."
New net metering rates approved by the PUC last year were a mashup of utility- and solar-backed proposals, aiming for a more collaborative approach.
The new rates will apply to customers with renewable energy systems of 100 kW or less. Systems installed or entered into the utility interconnection queue while the DER study is being conducted will have their net metering rate structure grandfathered until Dec. 31, 2040, per the agreement of utilities and solar companies.
- New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission Development of New Alternative Net Metering Tariffs and/or Other Regulatory Mechanisms and Tariffs for Customer-Generators
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