As part of IREC’s Vision Summit 2023, IREC is hosting a full-day Interconnection Training on Wednesday, November 8, 2023.

WHERE: McNamara Alumni Center, 200 Oak St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455.

This training will provide in-depth, practical guidance and hands-on support to understand key interconnection issues. It is designed for stakeholders currently engaged, or seeking to engage, in clean energy interconnection policy and implementation, as well as those interested in better understanding how interconnection impacts their work (e.g., how it can support equitable access to sustainable energy, community energy projects, or progress toward state climate and energy goals).

The training curriculum will include the below three topic areas:

How to Read an Interconnection Tariff

The IREC team will walk participants through a state’s interconnection procedures and tariff language, with a focus on providing a practical approach to evaluating how up-to-date the procedures are in comparison with best practices adopted by leading states and utilities and included in IREC’s 2023 Model Interconnection Procedures. As part of this module, participants will receive a checklist that can be used as a practical tool in the regulatory process. The checklist will enable stakeholders to identify areas for improvement including, but not limited to, timelines, application procedures, costs, storage interconnection procedures, and some elements of screening and study processes. This module will be most helpful to stakeholders with a beginner or intermediate familiarity with interconnection procedures.

Interconnection and Energy Equity

Interconnection Equity is a newly developing policy framework in which the principles of energy equity and just transition* are applied to interconnection regulation. Interconnection proceedings and working groups have historically not addressed how interconnection policy serves as a barrier to clean energy adoption in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), disinvested**, and frontline communities. This module will share the latest solutions—including model interconnection procedure language—for enabling interconnection to serve as a positive force of change for equitable access of sustainable energy. This module will be helpful to stakeholders with all levels of interconnection familiarity.

Understanding How Interconnection Applications Are Evaluated

When an interconnection customer submits an application, they receive a response from their local distribution utility that (typically) either approves the application or indicates that the customer can interconnect with grid upgrades. When interconnection requires grid upgrades, the customer doesn’t always receive a detailed description of the reasons their project failed the review process. If they do, it often takes someone with engineering expertise to understand the reasons for failure. This module will walk through the technical analyses conducted by utilities during the interconnection process, and will include: (1) Electric system and electricity basics; (2) The impacts that distributed energy resources (DERs) can have on the grid (e.g., thermal or voltage impacts), how utilities study those impacts, and examples of study parameters that may overestimate negative impacts; and (3) Evaluation methods. This module will be most helpful to participants with an intermediate familiarity with interconnection, and those who participate in the “How to Read an Interconnection Tariff” portion of the training.

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