October 2011 Connecting to the Grid Newsletter



Note from the Editor

Microgrids: Social networking for renewables?

What do the recent San Diego power outage; hurricanes, tornados and earthquakes; and the ever-increasing congestion on the transmission grid, all have in common?  For me, they all make a pretty compelling case for policymakers to encourage the development of microgrids.  While microgrids (also known as µGrids, community grids, milligrids or nanogrids, depending on their size and structure) aren’t a new concept by any stretch, they’ve definitely been gaining in relevance of late.

They’ve also been gaining ground in their capabilities, much as a result of smart grid technologies. I’ve heard them referred to as peer-to-peer power networks (hence the title of this article) because they have the ability to share a variety distributed resources across a network of high-use buildings (such as hospitals, office and industrial complexes and data centers). The buildings in a microgrid remain connected to the (macro) utility grid but, by generating their own power, they reduce reliance on the macro grid and can even send back surplus power through net metering or another type of arrangement. (Aside: Pennsylvania includes a higher system size cap for microgrids in its net metering policy, allowing those up to 5 MW to net meter, while non-microgrid systems may net meter systems up to 3 MW.) 

[Continued in Newsletter]

State News in Detail


Northeast States          

Connecticut PURA works on virtual net metering

Massachusetts DPU opens investigation of interconnection issues

New Hampshire PUC issues final net metering rules

New York legislature expands list of net metering technologies


Mid-Atlantic States       

Virginia SCC to hold hearing on stand-by charges for net metering customers


Midwestern States        

Illinois’ ICC works on Plug-in Vehicle adoption issues

Michigan’s Consumers Energy reduces its Renewable Surcharge


Southern States              

Texas net metering and interconnection bill becomes effective for El Paso Electric; Austin Energy goes renewable


Western States                               

California makes it easier for farmers to net meter; continues to work on interconnection Rule 21

Washington UTC recommends net metering improvements to state legislature

Upcoming Events

IREC Annual Meeting

Solar Power International 2011

CHP and Microgrids Webinar

Minnesota Division of Energy Resources Net Metering Workshop

Texas Renewables 2011 Conference



IREC has a new standard for energy efficiency and renewable energy certificate programs!


Miscellaneous News

LBNL releases Mass Market Demand Response and Variable Generation Integratio​n Issues Report

Jamaica adopts net metering rules

US Military aggressively investing in clean technology    


Download the full newsletter as a PDF:  October 2011 Connecting to the Grid Newsletter


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) and the North Carolina Solar Center at North Carolina State University. Click here to subscribe.

Editor: Laurel Varnado
NC Solar Center, NC State University


For the next 72 hours, you can download any IREC report without having to fill out this form again!

This feature requires the use of cookies in your browser. Check your browser settings if you experience any problems.