As published in Renewable Energy World
Here we are in 2019, with more than 100 U.S. cities and 140 large corporations having established 100 percent clean, carbon-free and/or renewable energy goals. In several states, newly seated governors campaigned on goals of 100 percent renewable energy, and congressional representatives have arrived in Washington positioning for a like-minded national proposal. The question is: what really has to happen to get from here to there, and what are the benefits such a transition will bring?
At Intersolar in San Francisco, IREC hosted and participated in a panel discussion on the State of Smart Inverters: Adoption and Considerations for Implementation. From this discussion and IREC’s work on these standards, I provide an update and overview on the state of the IEEE 1547 standards and recent developments in California, with an eye to considerations other states would benefit from keeping in mind as they look to capitalize on the potential of smart inverters.
The destruction caused by Maria offers Puerto Rico the chance to “leapfrog their energy system to the next generation of electric grids,” said Larry Sherwood, president and CEO of IREC.
Interconnecting DERs to the distribution grid is generally a “cost-causer pays” system: consumers who want solar pay for necessary distribution system upgrades, even when the upgrades will likely support future interconnection projects. What’s more, future projects benefit from investment in the grid’s infrastructure and could escape upgrade fees. Economics and fairness theories aside, this practice can kill perfectly viable and beneficial projects that didn’t budget for high upgrade costs and cause major delays in the process.
The comprehensive Rule 21 Order adopted by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) provides numerous innovations to mitigate costs associated with connecting clean energy to the grid, facilitates a clear process for interconnecting energy storage systems, and enables implementation of smart inverter functionality.
Fearing a potential shortage of reactive power, PJM last week won stakeholder support for an initiative to consider requiring that renewable resources add technology capable of providing grid support.