National Clean Energy Coalition Urges FERC to Carefully Examine Southeast Utilities
Filing proposes ways to make Southeast electricity market design more inclusive, transparent, and cost-efficient for customers, laying foundation for broader market reforms in the region
Washington, D.C. – (March 16, 2021) – Today, national associations Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), Advanced Energy Buyers Group (AEBG), Clean Energy Buyers Association (CEBA), and Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) announced they have submitted joint comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) asking regulators to closely examine shortcomings in the Southeast Energy Exchange Market (SEEM) proposal, which 14 electric utilities submitted to FERC in February 2021.
Representing a broad coalition of clean electricity customers and developers, the groups explain that it is not clear whether SEEM, as proposed, will provide customers in the Southeast with promised modest cost benefits. It is also unclear whether SEEM will be a step toward answering the call of state leaders and customers in the region for competitive regional wholesale markets that allow them to cost-effectively develop and access clean energy supplies.
The coalition pointed to the need for more detailed information regarding the proposed market design and advocated for modifications that would enhance transparency, governance and consumer protections within SEEM. Specifically, the comments urge FERC to:
- Require the utilities to supplement their filing with additional implementation details that are necessary to determine whether SEEM is just and reasonable;
- Consider modifications to the proposed SEEM design that enhance market and stakeholder protections; and
- Initiate a joint conference with state regulators and energy officials to convene broader discussions on the future of wholesale markets and transmission integration in the Southeast.
“The SEEM proposal falls far short of the wholesale market reforms that states and customers in the Southeast need to help them take advantage of low-cost advanced energy supplies and achieve their decarbonization goals,” said Jeff Dennis, Managing Director and General Counsel at AEE, which also facilitates the policy work of AEBG. “The electricity grid of the future requires a new approach to wholesale market and transmission access in the Southeast, and FERC should approach the SEEM, and subsequent conversations with leaders in the region about the future of its markets, with that in mind.”
“As customers increasingly make bold sustainability commitments that require access to clean and renewable energy, we support more competitive wholesale market options in the Southeast to help satisfy growing demand for clean energy in the region,” said Bryn Baker, Director of Policy at REBA. “We want to be sure that SEEM is designed to be a building block, and not a stumbling block, in the path to an affordable clean energy future that will benefit everyone.”
“The SEEM proposal fails to encourage competition, the most essential function of an energy market,” said Gizelle Wray, Director of Regulatory Affairs at SEIA. “To efficiently serve ratepayers in the Southeast, a regional energy market must embrace all generators, including renewable energy, and offer both long-term cost savings and a significant reduction in carbon emissions. This proposal only brushes the surface of what’s possible, and we urge FERC to reject this anti-competitive framework.”
The organizations note that their members support the expansion of competitive wholesale electricity market frameworks in the Southeast. They point to a recent study indicating that a fully competitive regional wholesale market in the Southeast would provide significant benefits to the region, well above those benefits expected to be realized through the SEEM proposal.
The business groups’ joint comments are available here.
Advanced Energy Economy is a national association of businesses that are making the energy we use secure, clean, and affordable. AEE is the only industry association in the U.S. that represents the full range of advanced energy technologies and services, both grid-scale and distributed. Advanced energy includes energy efficiency, demand response, energy storage, wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, electric vehicles, and more. AEE’s mission is to transform public policy to enable rapid growth of advanced energy businesses. Engaged at the federal level and more than a dozen states around the country, AEE represents more than 100 companies in the $238 billion U.S. advanced energy industry, which employs 3.6 million U.S. workers. AEE’s PowerSuite platform allows users to track regulatory and legislative issues in state legislatures, U.S. Congress, state PUCs, RTOs/ISOs, and FERC.
About Advanced Energy Buyers Group
The Advanced Energy Buyers Group is a business-led coalition of large energy users engaging on policies to expand opportunities to procure energy that is secure, clean, and affordable. Members of the Advanced Energy Buyers Group are leading companies and organizations spanning a range of market sectors, including technology, retail, education, and manufacturing. AE Buyers Group members share a common interest in expanding their use of advanced energy, with the goal of becoming more competitive, resilient, and sustainable enterprises far into the future. The Advanced Energy Buyers Group is convened and facilitated by Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), a national business association of advanced energy companies.
Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance is a national association for large-scale energy buyers seeking to procure renewable energy across the U.S. With more than 250 members from across the commercial and industrial sectors, non-profit organizations, as well as energy providers and service providers, CEBA is working towards the creation of a resilient, zero-carbon energy system. CEBA’s members represent over $6 trillion in annual revenues and over 14 million U.S. employees. CEBA’s goal is to catalyze 60 gigawatts of new renewable energy projects by 2025 and to unlock the energy market for all large-scale energy buyers by creating viable pathways to procurement.
The Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA) is leading the transformation to a clean energy economy, creating the framework for solar to achieve 20% of U.S. electricity generation by 2030. SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies and other strategic partners to fight for policies that create jobs in every community and shape fair market rules that promote competition and the growth of reliable, low-cost solar power. Founded in 1974, SEIA is a national trade association building a comprehensive vision for the Solar+ Decade through research, education and advocacy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org and follow @SEIA on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
AEE, AEBG: Monique Hanis, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-236-8220
REBA: Monica Jaburg, email@example.com, 703-975-7799
SEIA: Jen Bristol, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-556-2886