FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff and HPUC Chair Hermina Morita signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the annual meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners last month. The agreement identifies areas that FERC and the HPUC will concentrate on during their initial exchange of information. Cooperation under the agreement may also include joint studies and training activities.
FERC Chairman Wellinghoff calls the new agreement, “a wonderful opportunity for FERC to gain a greater understanding of the successes and challenges of integrating demand response and renewables and other variable energy resources, through Hawaii’s own experiences.”
HPUC Chair Morita adds: “The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission truly appreciates Chairman Wellinghoff’s interest as we believe Hawaii is a microcosm of where issues of emerging technology and adaptive regulation must be resolved to advance Hawaii’s clean energy transformation. Combining our resources and experiences in this special partnership helps to problem-solve some of the most complex energy challenges in a rapidly changing regulatory environment.”
Initial topics for discussion will include Hawaii’s successes and challenges with large-scale integration of renewable energy resources, including experiences with batteries and other storage devices; regulatory issues associated with the development and deployment of demand response; using microgrids in Hawaii’s Department of Defense facilities; transmission regulatory policy related to inter-island cable systems to interconnect remotely sited generation and island electrical grids; establishment and enforcement of mandatory reliability standards for the grid; and regulatory issues associated with the import and use of natural gas.
According to FERC, the MOU does not require the agency or the HPUC “to take any action that would be inconsistent with existing or future laws, regulations and policy directives.”