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DOE Announces Funding for Projects Focused on Engagement, Analysis in Wholesale Electricity Markets

The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced funding for six projects aimed at improving state and regional engagement in wholesale electricity markets.

The Wholesale Electricity Market Studies and Engagement (WEMSE) Program provides funding to states and regions related to developing, expanding, or improving wholesale electricity markets.

This engagement will ensure these stakeholders are able to provide critical insight into market design, expansion, and improvement activities.

The six projects announced on April 11 “will help facilitate the improvement or creation of more efficient and flexible wholesale markets, which will be essential to ensure grid resilience and reliability as new load and generation come online,” DOE said.

Administered by DOE’s Grid Deployment Office, the WEMSE program provides technical and financial assistance to help ensure stakeholders are able to provide critical insight into market design, expansion, and improvement activities, including interregional transmission infrastructure development.

The six projects could receive up to a combined total of $10.6 million in funding to identify and implement market improvements. 

Details on the Six Projects

Cornell University will analyze price formation and resource procurement policies in wholesale electricity markets that could accommodate an evolving resource mix of higher levels of wind, solar, and storage in future electricity systems, in support of efficiency and reliability in both the short and long term. ($2 million).

The Electric Power Research Institute will study Southwest Power Pool’s current and projected market configurations by developing advanced modeling approaches and a market simulation framework to prototype new market design features, including accounting for greenhouse gas emissions in markets. ($1.4 million)

The National Association of State Energy Officials will inform state energy offices on regional wholesale market design and how they impact resilience and resource adequacy through informational materials and trainings/convenings. Efforts will aim to examine how state-level integrated resource planning can be coordinated with broader regional plans to enable states’ successes and to engage local governments and other stakeholders (such as the private sector and community groups) that state energy offices interact with on resilience, reliability, and market issues. ($3 million) 

Pennsylvania State University will identify market design changes that efficiently integrate batteries and other unconventional resources by assessing potential market design changes to manage intertemporal constraints and uncertainties using a realistic market simulation model with PJM Interconnection and ISO New England. ($816,000)

The University of Texas at Arlington will study the benefits, aggregability, and deliverability of aggregated distributed energy resources and facilitate the adoption of aggregated distributed energy resources into wholesale electricity markets, specifically in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas market in Texas. ($1.6 million)

The Western Power Pool will conduct planning analyses across the Western Interconnection to produce 10-year and 20-year transmission plans, which will identify benefits for western states and Tribes to achieve their respective energy goals, as well as improved interregional transmission planning. ($1.8 million)

The Grid Deployment Office is administering the WEMSE program through rolling application rounds. This is intended to afford states, market operators, and other wholesale market stakeholders the time to develop coalitions and coordinate joint applications as appropriate. 

The next deadline to submit concept papers is June 13, 2024.

Private industry and national labs that receive funding through this program are required to collaborate with a state or regional system operator, or a coalition of states or regional market operators. 

WEMSE funding supports studies, convenings, education, and analysis but does not support hard infrastructure development or tools. 

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