The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission wants to open up a market for energy storage to support renewable power and widen competition for ancillary services. FERC issued a notice of inquiry to that end June 16. Jon Wellinghoff, FERC chair, said the proceeding is intended to inform the commission on policy changes needed to \u201cencourage the development of storage resources.\u201d \u201cStorage is the ultimate,\u201d added commissioner Philip Moeller. \u201cIf we can get cost-effective storage, we can integrate renewables and more efficiently operate the grid.\u201d The notice of inquiry, explained FERC energy analyst Rahim Amerkhail, is aimed at determining how to modify the commission\u2019s late 1990s Avista decision. That judgment set standards for third-party ancillary service providers. Third-party providers generally are companies other than utilities and those that operate transmission systems. FERC noted transmission operators, not third parties, typically have provided ancillary services. Amerkhail explained the decision has proven restrictive to developing a robust third-party ancillary services market and now threatens to hinder power storage providers. In California, the California Independent System Operator allows third-party transmission providers. The key barrier, he said, is a requirement that third-party ancillary service providers show that they lack market power. Required studies are arduous to perform, FERC noted in its inquiry, and so far have proven a barrier to using storage on the grid. FERC staff believes it may be possible to ease the requirement and still protect consumers against unjust and unreasonable power rates. Ancillary services include reactive power and frequency regulation on the grid, according to FERC. Storage technologies can provide these services and also bursts of power to balance rapid changes in demand for electricity and varying output from solar and wind generation facilities.