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August 28, 2019

Are Regional Transmission Organizations the Future for Renewables in the Southeast?

By Steven Shparber

Renewable Energy World

In an article published in Renewable Energy World on Aug. 28, Washington, DC of counsel Steven Shparber discusses the importance of regional transmission organizations (RTOs) for renewables in the Southeast. “Recent developments have led stakeholders and policymakers in the Southeast to rethink whether it is beneficial for some utilities to join RTOs – something that is generally seen as a positive development for renewable energy,” he states. 

Much of the Southeast is not in an RTO. Therefore, the region retains a vertically integrated utility model, which has not historically been open to competition from renewable resources. “In comparison, renewable energy asset owners in RTOs are able to compete alongside other resources in open and competitive markets,” Shparber explains. 

However, while there is growing interest in the prospect of an RTO in the Southeast, Shparber also highlights challenges RTOs present for renewables. He continues, “RTO market rules and operations were not designed with widespread renewable penetration in mind, and accordingly most RTO rules do not fully value renewable energy resource capabilities.”