New Guide for Utility Regulators: Priority Considerations for Interconnection Standards
The power grid is much like our network of country roads and highways, carrying energy from its origin to its final destination. Interconnection standards are, in effect, the “rules of the road” set by policymakers, which both system owners and utilities must follow to keep traffic flowing smoothly. The quality of these rules facilitates an easy free-flow of traffic, or result in unnecessary gridlock.
Interconnection standards should outline with clarity the timelines, fees, technical requirements and steps in the review process for connecting distributed energy resources such as a solar PV system or an energy storage system – to the electricity grid. Ideally, the process to interconnect should not be an obstacle or a source of frustration and contention for any party involved in the process. Clear, forward-thinking rules are essential to maintain the safety and reliability of the grid, while also enabling the adoption of distributed energy resources and achieving broader clean energy resiliency goals.
As an active participant at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and in dozens of state commission rulemakings over the past decade, IREC has identified and synthesized the best practices in use across the country in our Model Interconnection Procedures, which is a free resource available to states for reference as work to develop and/or refine their own rules.
These priority considerations for interconnection standards, a quick reference guide for regulators, is intended as a supplement to IREC’s Interconnection Model Rules, with key recommendations for states working to improve/update interconnection procedures. Each section offers a description of the key components to interconnection based on established and well-vetted national best practices.