After more than two years, Minnesota’s updated interconnection rules are the result of work at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), by IREC, Fresh Energy and the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC). In May 2016, the three organizations jointly petitioned the PUC to initiate a proceeding to establish new interconnection standards that better align with the current market for distributed generation, and to achieve greater consistency with national best practices.
Over the past decade, IREC has worked with dozens of states across the country to facilitate and support the adoption of fundamental regulatory policy reforms that maintain the safety and reliability of the electric grid, while also allowing for fair, affordable and efficient consumer access to renewable energy. Central to our efforts is a concerted focus on interconnection standards – the technical protocols that govern the processes by which renewable energy projects connect with the electricity grid.
On May 15th, the North Carolina Utilities Commission issued a long-awaited order adopting revisions to the state’s interconnection standards. The commission’s decision is interesting in a number of respects for both how it follows and how it bucks national trends in interconnection best practice development.
Amidst a growing sense of urgency to expedite the transition to a clean energy future, catalysts are paramount. Lasting reforms to our centuries-old energy system will not just magically happen in 50 states and a handful of territories. A planned, patient, and persistent approach is needed. This laborious (some might even say tedious) process takes a stimulus.