Biden Administration Invests $10.6 Million to Enhance Wholesale Electricity Markets

electrical power lines. electrical power and energy

electrical power lines. electrical power and energy

by | Apr 16, 2024

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The United States Department of Energy (DOE) under the Biden-Harris Administration has announced a significant initiative to fortify state and regional engagement in wholesale electricity markets. Announcing an allocation of up to $10.6 million for six distinct projects, the Wholesale Electricity Market Studies and Engagement (WEMSE) Program is set to bolster the efficiency and flexibility of wholesale electricity markets nationwide.

Maria Robinson, Director of the Grid Deployment Office, emphasized the importance of updating wholesale electricity markets to align with the evolving landscape of the energy sector. “Efficient, fair, and transparent markets are essential as we transition to a clean, reliable, equitable electric grid,” she stated. Robinson highlighted the outdated nature of current wholesale market structures, designed initially three decades ago, which no longer adequately accommodate the proliferation of clean energy resources and advanced grid technologies.

The proliferation of renewable resources like wind, solar, and storage necessitates the creation of more flexible and efficient markets to ensure grid resilience and reliability. As more clean energy sources come online, adapting market structures is imperative. The WEMSE program aims to bridge the gap between stakeholders such as utilities, state agencies, and market operators, providing them with the necessary resources and training to participate actively in market development.

The selected projects under the WEMSE program encompass diverse studies and initiatives to enhance market efficiency and integrate renewable resources. Cornell University will analyze price formation and resource procurement policies among these projects to accommodate evolving resource mixes. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) aims to develop advanced modeling approaches to prototype new market design features, including integrating greenhouse gas emissions considerations.

Other projects include efforts by the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) to inform state energy offices on regional wholesale market design, Pennsylvania State University’s endeavor to identify market design changes for efficient integration of batteries and unconventional resources, and the University of Texas at Arlington’s study on the adoption of aggregated distributed energy resources (ADERs) into wholesale electricity markets.

Western Power Pool’s initiative to conduct planning analyses across the Western Interconnection will identify benefits for Western states and Tribes in achieving their respective energy goals and improving interregional transmission planning.

Administered by the Grid Deployment Office, the WEMSE program operates through rolling application rounds, allowing stakeholders adequate time to develop coalitions and coordinate joint applications. It is crucial to note that while the program supports studies, convenings, education, and analysis, it does not fund complex infrastructure development or tools.

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