March 2009 IREC “Connecting to the Grid” Newsletter

Editor: Laurel Varnado
NC Solar Center, NC State University


The Connecting to the Grid newsletter is published electronically every month by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) and the North Carolina Solar Center at North Carolina State University. This is a free publication. Click here to subscribe.


While customer-sited net metering and interconnection are primarily state issues, they are also becoming important on a regional basis. This newsletter has been designed to capture any subtle, emerging regional trends. The state news is presented in geographic categories, primarily because the standard NERC and/or RTO/ISO regions do not always align with state boundaries. Please direct comments and questions about the newsletter to Laurel Varnado at

Note: Scroll to the bottom of this page to download complete newsletter.

Note from the Editor
The Smart Grid: Coming soon to a meter near you?
In researching smart grid developments, I found there to be almost as many definitions of smart grid as there are experts in the field. Generally speaking though, a smart grid will act as a controlling mechanism for Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and smart meters, which enable two-way communication between a utility and its customers. A smart grid will be a continuously upgradable and self-healing network, capable of accommodating growth and more efficiently managing power distribution. This transition can be likened to the conversion process that happened in the telephone industry when the U.S. upgraded from rotary phones to a digital touchtone system and then to a wireless network. The recently-passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Stimulus Package) will certainly help launch this transition. It provides $4.5 billion in direct investments for smart grid projects with potentially billions more set aside for related renewable energy and efficiency projects that could also touch upon smart grid development.
A smart grid will not only communicate more effectively but it will also reduce energy consumption and minimize transmission losses. Consumers will presumably be prompted to reduce end-use consumption by having access to real-time data on electricity costs. In fact, a study was recently conducted of 6,600 apartments in Oklahoma City that employed smart meters, smart thermostats, and time-of-use pricing. The result showed that consumers paid attention to price signals displayed on the thermostat and changed consumption habits. Additionally, a smart grid will also facilitate more effective reactive power compensation and voltage control to minimize system losses. Reactive power flows in the grid consume transmission capacity and limit a system’s ability to move real power. Better management of reactive power will allow a utility to maximize the amount of real power that can be transferred across congested transmission lines and thereby minimize transmission losses. [Continued in the March Newsletter]

News Items of Interest

Northeast States
Massachusetts – DPU initiates net metering rulemaking, issues proposed rules
New York – PSC approves changes to net metering tariffs, adopts changes to SIR and signs off on pilot program for smart meter implementation
Mid-Atlantic States

District of Columbia – Interconnection rules become effective, Pepco files revised net metering tariff
New Jersey – BPU adopts September 2008 proposed rules for net metering/interconnection
Midwestern States
Michigan – Consumer’s Energy proposes pilot feed-in tariff for solar PV
Minnesota – PUC plans informational meeting on Xcel’s Smart Grid Project
Missouri – PSC proposes amendment to liability insurance requirements
Wisconsin – Alliant Energy rolls out AMI

Southern States
Alabama – PSC calls for comments on EISA 2007
Mississippi – Five net metering bills die in committee
South Carolina – Energy Office and ORS issue recommendations for net metering improvements
Western States

California – IOU’s file virtual net metering tariffs for MASH program
Idaho – Idaho Power to go ahead with AMI deployment
Utah – PSC issues order revising Rocky Mountain Power’s net metering tariff

Miscellaneous News
Stimulus Bill to Spur Investment in Renewables
Rhode Island Seeks Comments on Carbon Credit Revenue
New Jersey SRECs Trading at Theoretical Max

Conferences and Events


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