May 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

On Spot and Area Networks

Most of the country’s electric load is distributed via radial distribution networks, comprised of single feeders serving single transformers (think branches coming out from a tree).  This type of distribution system is not quite as reliable as secondary systems with multiple feeders, transformers and increased routes for power distribution.  While only roughly 3-6% of electric load can be found on spot and area networks, provisions for renewable energy interconnection to these secondary networks are becoming increasingly common and relevant in state-level interconnection procedures. Secondary networks can be most often found serving downtown central business districts (area networks) and specialized power needs such as corporate campuses, malls and hospitals (spot networks).  Networks are typically supplied from multiple dedicated primary feeders where power flows through a complex web of power lines that connect to individual customers through multiple paths. These systems were designed to prevent simultaneous feeder outages so that loads on networks can still be served even when a particular feeder or two are inoperative.

Distributed generation (DG) interconnection to spot and area networks can be more difficult because the protection schemes found on networks are more complex than those of radial systems. Within a network system, bidirectional power flow is expected and is actually one of the main reasons for its greater reliability; however, this feature also allows current to flow along a variety of paths during a fault condition. DG can contribute additional current during fault conditions which may cause issues in the way network protectors operate, possibly resulting in property damage or personal injury. Additionally, a situation could occur in which the DG system creates an unintentional islanding condition during a fault.  When the fault is cleared and utility power is restored, damage can occur to the DG and other equipment if the two sources are not in sync. [Continued in the Newsletter]

News Items of Interest

Northeast States

Maine – Legislature creates climate change working group

Massachusetts – utilities file revised proposed NM tariff

New Hampshire – PUC Staff issue proposed rules for net metering updates

Mid-Atlantic States

New Jersey – OCE discusses off-shore wind carve-out in state RPS

Virginia – legislature enacts several bills pertaining to net metering and interconnection

Midwestern States

Illinois – ICC issues Second Notice Order for large generator interconnection proceeding

Kansas – Governor vetoes coal, net metering legislation

Michigan – Clarification on effective date for net metering and Consumer’s Energy RFP for renewable energy contracts

Southern States

Florida – Energy bills die in legislature

North Carolina – Utilities file NM tariffs

Tennessee – TVA improves terms of production incentive

Western States

Colorado – PUC issues recommended decision on net metering and interconnection order, Governor signs renewable energy/net metering legislation

Utah – PSC holds technical conference on valuation of NEG for large generators

Nevada – Valley Electric Association allows NM

Other States

Hawaii – Utilities file application with PUC for Photovoltaic Host Program

Miscellaneous News

EPA Releases Proposed “Endangerment Finding” for Greenhouse Gases

NRDC Releases Renewable Energy Maps

Secretary Pledges to Create Renewable Energy Teams

UL Launches New Services for Wind Turbine Certification

Conferences and Events


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