The Proof of the Interconnection Reform is in the…Data
Interconnection reform is the hottest new dish on the regulatory menu. Discussions are currently ongoing in Illinois and North Carolina, following the path-charting decisions in Hawaii, California, Massachusetts and Ohio over the past two years. It’s no surprise either; reforming interconnection procedures that are no longer suitable for today’s rapid solar adoption rates can be a win-win situation for both developers and utilities. Still though, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. We went in search of some concrete evidence that these new reforms are having a positive effect on the interconnection process. But first, a bit more background on the interconnection reforms.
A few key states experiencing high penetrations (MA, CA and HI) have recently tackled reform of their interconnection procedures out of necessity. These states were starting to see more and more distribution circuits with distributed generation (DG) penetration levels surpassing 15% of peak load. This 15% penetration limit is one of the most important benchmarks for screening whether a DG project can be fast tracked through the interconnection process. On the other hand, if a project will cause that circuit to surpass 15% of peak load, utilities typically require some further study to ensure it will not produce excess power that could backfeed to a substation (among other considerations). Too many studies mean a slow and costly interconnection process for all.
While customer-sited net metering and interconnection policies are primarily addressed at the state level, they are also becoming important on a regional basis. This newsletter has been designed to provide state-level policy updates and capture emerging regional trends.Connecting to the Grid is a free, electronic newsletter published each month by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC). Click here to subscribe. Editor: Laurel Passera.