FERC points closing rule on reforming interconnection course of for renewable energy

By Brad Kramer July 27, 2023

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a closing rule at this time to enhance the interconnection course of and deal with the rising backlog of renewable energy initiatives — largely wind, solar and storage sources — ready in queues nationwide.

FERC’s historic ruling marks a step towards the modernization of the U.S. energy grid by streamlining the interconnection course of for transmission suppliers, bettering timing and price certainty to prospects, and stopping undue discrimination towards new sources of power era.

“This new rule will enable America’s vast power generation resources to connect to the grid in a reliable, efficient, transparent and timely manner, and in doing so, help provide more reliable, resilient and affordable electricity for all consumers,” mentioned FERC chairman Willie Phillips. “This is a watershed moment for our nation’s transmission grid.”

Phillips underscored the necessity for at this time’s reforms by noting that on the finish of 2022, greater than 2,000 GW of era and storage had been ready in interconnection queues all through the nation — that’s as a lot electrical energy era capability as all of the power crops now working across the nation. Projects now face a mean wait of as much as 5 years to connect with the grid.

In an announcement following FERC’s closing rulemaking, Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), reiterated the issue with undertaking backlog, including that the present interconnection delay is “significantly longer than the three-year timeframe for a project in 2015,” denouncing the development as “completely unacceptable” in assembly U.S. clear energy targets.

“This new rule from FERC is an important first step on this crucial issue for the energy transition, and I am pleased to see some improvements from the proposed rule, including measures to advance the use of grid enhancing technologies,” Wetstone mentioned. “But it is only a start. We encourage the Commission to build on today’s forward progress in addressing the grid backlog by finalizing a rulemaking requiring comprehensive long-term transmission planning, initiating a process to reform the dysfunctional funding model for new transmission lines, and establishing a minimum transfer capability requirement to help address the clear need for greater interregional transmission. These steps will lower electricity costs, enhance grid reliability, and provide for a cleaner and more climate-safe electrical grid.”

FERC’s closing rule contains a number of key areas of reforms, together with establishment of a first-ready-first-served cluster examine course of, with elevated monetary commitments for interconnection prospects, to enhance the effectivity of the interconnection course of and decrease delays; imposition of agency deadlines and penalties if transmission suppliers fail to finish their interconnection research on time incorporation of technological developments into the interconnection course of, together with consideration of superior transmission applied sciences within the interconnection examine course of; and an replace of modeling and efficiency necessities for inverter-based sources to make sure continued system reliability.

“Our transmission policies must keep pace with the rapid changes in the makeup of our nation’s power generation resource mix,” Phillips mentioned. “Today’s rule is an important milestone. But there is so much more to do. The Commission is working diligently on how to address the key issues of regional transmission planning and cost allocation. We need to take a longer-term, forward-looking approach to planning for essential transmission facilities and to allocate the costs of those facilities in a just and reasonable manner while enhancing the reliability and resilience of the grid.”  

Today’s rule, which got here out of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued in June 2022, will take impact 60 days after publication within the Federal Register. Compliance filings are due 90 days after publication within the Federal Register.

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Tags: ACORE, FERC, interconnection, coverage

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