TESA, the Texas Energy Storage Alliance, has been actively seeking support from the Texas Legislature, the PUC, and ERCOT stakeholders and staff, to implement policies designed to enable the participation of energy storage resources here in the Lone Star State. As a result, we are happy to report that the Public Utility Commission of Texas has recently taken significant steps toward removing the barriers to entry and encouraging the development of energy storage resources in ERCOT.

In Project 39917, the PUC published a rule which would clarify how storage will be settled in the wholesale market. The PUC discussed the proposed rule at the February 24 Open Meeting where all three Commissioners expressed support for the consistent treatment of energy storage as a wholesale market resource when charging and discharging. Storage contributions would be settled consistently as well. In addition, the Commissioners agreed that, going forward, no retail charges or fees, including ancillary service charges, should be incurred by storage. The vote on this rule is set for March 7, 2012.

In addition to the settlement rule, the PUC voted to publish a rule that would grant ERCOT the authority to implement pilot projects for new technologies or services. The proposed rule would allow new technologies such as storage resources to request exemptions from designated market rules if necessary. The idea behind the pilot rule is to allow ERCOT to gain experience with storage allowing the system to change the protocols as appropriate, after gaining a better understanding of their operational characteristics. Comments on the proposed rule will be due in March.

Texas is the second most populous state with the largest electric demand and highest penetration of renewable energy. If you are not already a member of the Texas Energy Storage Alliance, I hope you will consider joining, the other members of TESA to support these rule changes, sponsor a demonstration project, and contribute to the growth of the industry here. In addition, for young companies and others looking to locate facilities, the State has incentive funding available. See more at: www.TexasEnergyStorage.org.