March 2014 Connecting to the Grid Newsletter



Note from the Editor

Meet Solar’s Imaginary Friend, Reactive Power

Utilities deliver both active (or real) power and reactive (or imaginary) power along their distribution lines. Real power does the actual work when you flip on a light switch.  Certain energy loads, such as motors and refrigerators, include energy storage elements that periodically need to reverse the direction of energy flow. This electric power from stored electromagnetic energy, which returns to the source in each cycle, is known as reactive power.

Utilities care about reactive power because, even though it does no work at the point of consumption, it is needed to maintain voltage to deliver active power. Do you remember the largest blackout in U.S. history that surged through the Northeast in 2003? The cause for this, and several other major blackouts, can largely be attributed to a severe shortage of reactive power, which failed to maintain voltage along major power routes.

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State News in Detail

Northeastern States

Massachusetts moves toward improving its interconnection procedures.  Read more.

New Hampshire forges ahead with shared solar options. Read more.

New York utility proposes energy storage plan for NYC. Read more.

Mid-Atlantic States 

Pennsylvania PUC proposes net metering changes. Read more.

Midwestern States

Iowa Utilities Board opens inquiry, seeks public comment on distributed generation in Iowa. Read more.

Kansas municipality approves net metering and interconnection rules. Read more.

Southern States

North Carolina Commission requests net metering comments. Read more.

Western States  

Arizona regulators consider dropping rooftop-solar mandate. Read more.

Other States 

Hawaii creates test bed for energy storage technologies. Read more.


Federal and Miscellaneous News

U.S. solar power becoming competitive, Energy Secretary says.  Read more.


View an archived version of the newsletter here:  March 2014 Connecting to the Grid Newsletter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). Click here to subscribe. Editor: Laurel Passera


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