The process for interconnecting the new generation of renewable energy and storage resources to the electric grid, both large scale and small scale, has emerged as one of the most troubling aspects of deploying renewable energy resources and decarbonizing the grid. Special consideration is required for renewable and battery projects during the interconnection process to ensure these resources are connected to the grid in an optimal way that maintains system stability and reliability. Often, however, procedural delays, conflicting regulatory requirements, a balky supply chain, coordination with transmission operators and other externalities dog down the system.

This conference will provide a forum for project developers, vertically integrated utilities, transmission and distribution utilities, balancing authorities, system operators and policy makers to share their expertise and discuss best practices for optimizing the interconnection process. The content will address both large and small generation projects to:

  • Compare the interconnection processes and experiences of different entities across the country
  • Identify the technical requirements of the interconnection process from start to finish
  • Evaluate the impact of existing and potential regulatory and policy directions at the federal and state levels

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify the latest interconnection regulatory changes and rulemakings in process on the state and FERC level
  • Examine interconnection processes of utilities in multiple regions of the country and how they are managing increasing volumes of interconnection applications
  • Assess specific challenges for interconnecting grid-scale wind, solar and battery projects
  • Assess specific challenges for interconnecting distributed energy resources (DERs)
  • Evaluate issues associated with hybrid storage interconnections
  • Review the interconnection process from the perspectives and experiences of:
    • Investor-owned utilities in regulated and retail markets
    • Renewable and storage project developers
    • Independent system operators (ISOs), regional transmission organizations (RTOs), and power marketing administrations (PMAs)
  • Review key issues that cause delays in utility interconnection timelines and whether feasible solutions exist for expediting scheduling without sacrificing safety and reliability
  • Evaluate how new technologies and a changing grid create new technical and operational challenges for interconnection
  • Identify advanced modeling tools and techniques utilized by utilities and transmission owners leading the way in utility-scale energy resource and storage interconnection
  • Review a value proposition analysis for projects from an interconnection standpoint

9:00 – 9:30 a.m. : Freeing the Grid: A Fifty-State Survey of Interconnection Best Practices

Radina Valova, Regulatory Vice President, Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) 

As distributed energy resource (DER) deployment grows, a number of states with high DER penetration are facing challenges with interconnection, from lengthy queues to costly grid upgrades.  This presentation will provide an overview of the status of energy storage interconnection across the U.S., using “Freeing the Grid” – a joint project from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and Vote Solar that evaluates and grades state interconnection policies, and will answer the following key questions: 

  • Which states have the most up-to-date energy storage interconnection procedures—and what we can learn from them
  • Which states fall in the bottom tiers for energy storage interconnection—and how they can improve.

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. : Key Solutions for Enabling the Unique Benefits of Energy Storage Through Interconnection

Brian Lydic, Chief Regulatory Engineer, Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and Radina Valova, Regulatory Vice President, Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC)

Energy storage can serve as a valuable tool, thanks to its ability to serve as both generation and load, mitigate the variability of renewables, and optimize DERs in a way that provides grid benefits and reduces grid impacts. However, most state interconnection rules don’t currently recognize the unique functionalities of storage and serve as a barrier for standalone storage and storage-plus-DER deployment. This presentation will provide key solutions for safely and reliably interconnecting energy storage, while enabling its unique and valuable operating characteristics. Key topics covered: 

  • What are the key regulatory and technical solutions that utilities, regulators, DER developers, and other stakeholders can adopt to improve energy storage interconnection
  • How to safely and reliably enable export-controlled storage
  • How to address inadvertent export
  • How to allow for system design changes during the interconnection process to mitigate the need for grid upgrades
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