Regional Transmission Operator Ordered to Comply with Changes to Federal Interconnection Procedures Designed to Accommodate Growing Penetrations of Distributed Generation  

By Sky Stanfield

When the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) updated its pro forma Small Generator Interconnection Procedures (SGIP) at the end of 2013, it ordered transmission providers to file compliance tariffs within six months of the effective date of the final rule. Having played an integral role in the development of the SGIP, IREC remains keenly interested in its adoption and implementation as an effective tool to streamline the integration of renewable energy and energy storage.

IREC was pleased to find that most transmission providers stuck to the spirit of the rule and did not seek substantial changes in their compliance filings. However, in response to a filing submitted by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), IREC filed a protest on the grounds that MISO’s tariff did not comply with the changes mandated by FERC, and did not provide sufficient justification for non-compliance.

On September 30th FERC issued an order agreeing with IREC and directing MISO to submit a revised compliance filing that adopts the pro forma SGIP changes including a pre-application report, enhanced supplemental review, and changes to the generator definition to better include storage systems.

In discussing the decision, Sky Stanfield, who represents IREC in regulatory matters, explained the significance of the action.

“We see this as an important confirmation that FERC is committed to encouraging the nation’s utilities and transmission providers to be proactive in adopting changes to their interconnection procedures to accommodate a growing number of distributed generators rather than waiting until study backlogs and other issues arise,” said Stanfield. “FERC’s order also has important implications for states as they consider updates and modifications to their renewable energy interconnection procedures.”

 

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