Hawaii PUC Considering Changes to Interconnection Rules

We have lately been following Docket 2010-0015 in Hawaii, which was opened on January 27, 2010.  This docket was opened to modify the state’s technical interconnection standards, standard interconnection agreement, and interconnection process overview. It also adds a new section on a standard third-party interconnection agreement. The proposed modifications were offered by the utilities pursuant to a commitment made by Hawaiian Electric in a comprehensive agreement dated October 20, 2008 between the Governor of the State of Hawaii, various government agencies and the Hawaiian Electric Companies.

In their original filing the utilities proposed the following changes in general: defining isolation devices, addressing indemnification for governmental entities, developing a third-party standard interconnection agreement, providing consistency between interconnection rules and decisions or proposals made in related areas (i.e., Net Energy Metering, Feed-In Tariff, etc…). 

Specifically, the utility proposal includes the following modifications:

  • An increase in the percentage of peak annual KVA load for the feeder that triggers additional technical studies from 10% to 15%, or when 33% of the feeder minimum kW load during the period when the proposed generation is available. This proposed amendment raises the penetration limit; thus accepting more distributed renewable generation onto a circuit before additional study is required, and in turn will encourage more renewable generation interconnections.
  • A clarification of the utilities’ requirement of an acceptable isolation device, which could be a disconnect switch or breaker with rack-out capability as long as it meet the criteria of having a visible break, capable of being locked in the open position, and accessible by utility personnel.
  • Requirement of supervisory control and monitoring equipment for facilities greater than 500kW. Currently, facilities greater than 1 MW may be required to have supervisory control and monitoring equipment. This proposed amendment will allow utilities to better aggregate the total available generation capacity on its system, and to monitor and potentially control the larger distributed generating facilities.
  • A change of references to UL 1741 and IEEE 1547 from “requirements” to “design guidelines” to provide Hawaiian Electric flexibility in setting the voltage and frequency set points.
  • Inclusion of language to improve the consistency within the document and the removal of all references to third party customers. A new Appendix has been created for third-party interconnection agreements.
  • A clarification that the customer needs to complete the insurance coverage section, which in turn should make the overall interconnection process more efficient.

Parties and Participants can submit their joint stipulated procedural order or individual proposed procedural orders to the Commission until May 5, 2010. More information on this matter can be found on the HI PUC’s Docket Management System website, by searching for docket 2010-0015. The last time Hawaii addressed Interconnection standards, it was under Docket 2006-0497.  The PUC issued an order on December 16, 2008 that addressed eligibility of some DG system and other related matters.


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