SEIA Particulars Reforms Wanted to Alleviate Solar Energy Interconnection Bottlenecks

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Sean Gallagher

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has launched a whitepaper detailing the in depth interconnection reforms wanted to quickly decarbonize the electrical energy grid. Across the nation, state and federal leaders are doubling down on their clear energy targets, however distribution utilities and regional transmission organizations (RTO) are struggling to maintain up with overflowing interconnection queues.

The new whitepaper, Lessons from the Front Line: Principles and Recommendations for Large-scale and Distributed Energy Interconnection Reforms, discusses the varied alternatives utilities and regulators should standardize, automate and make clear interconnection procedures and insurance policies.

“If we don’t make major strides on interconnection reforms in the next few years, it will be impossible to achieve our more aggressive state and national clean energy goals,” states Sean Gallagher, vp of state and regulatory affairs at SEIA. “Improving project interconnection must become an urgent priority for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, distribution utilities and state commissions if we want to build an equitable clean energy economy this decade.”

The key to avoiding interconnection logjams is offering firms with extra details about transmission and distribution grid operations. The insurance policies should additionally construct in accountability and penalties for utility inaction. New cost-sharing fashions for transmission and distribution system upgrades will make it simpler to attach tasks to the grid and scale back total mission prices.

Creating a central database for interconnection improve prices will assist mission builders make extra knowledgeable choices when contemplating an interconnection utility submission. Better transparency will make clear utility overhead prices and create downward pricing strain on monopolistic utilities that don’t at the moment have any incentives or necessities to reveal pricing info.

“Transparency is the most important part of interconnection reform,” says David Gahl, government director of the Solar and Storage Industries Institute (SI2) and SEIA’s former senior director of state coverage, East. “Companies are left in the dark when it comes to grid planning and how much infrastructure upgrades might cost, increasing the likelihood that interconnection applications will be withdrawn. This whitepaper lays out the many ways lawmakers and regulators can eliminate this guessing game and put us on a path to reaching the president’s climate goals.”

Utilities and RTOs ought to standardize queue administration processes and give attention to hiring extra workers members with devoted experience, the whitepaper says. Web-based portals that allow on-line utility submissions and speedy info exchanges may even assist to streamline the interconnection course of. In addition, utilities and RTOs ought to automate as a lot of the processes as attainable to scale back delays and pace the time it takes to course of and examine purposes.

In the long run, the whitepaper says regulators ought to contemplate extra systemic modifications for RTOs and utilities like versatile interconnection agreements. These agreements, already in place in Europe, can be utilized to attach the useful resource to the grid with out main infrastructure prices.

SEIA’s regulatory affairs specialists have been partaking with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on its transmission and interconnection dockets, and not too long ago submitted suggestions to FERC’s Joint Federal-State Task Force on Electric Transmission. FERC is predicted to publish a proposed rule that can cowl lots of the identical matters raised on this whitepaper.

Read the whitepaper right here.

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