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.
On May 24th, Minnesota made new strides for clean energy and became the third state in the Midwest in the last three years to adopt wholesale reforms to their state interconnection procedures – creating a more transparent and effective interconnection process for customers. The updated rules are the result of more than two years of work at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), by IREC, in partnership with Fresh Energy and the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC).
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.
Say you’re thinking about adding another story onto an old house. You probably wouldn’t want to start building without first having a structural engineer make some calculations to ensure the house could support the addition. Now keep that image in mind as you consider interconnection policy as one of the main load-bearing walls in our solar market “house.” If not properly designed to match the growing market conditions, state interconnection policies may cause the house to come crashing down…or at least cause some major cracks to form.
Last week, Massachusetts formally adopted improvements to its interconnection procedures that make it easier for small renewable energy systems to connect to the distribution grid, without compromising safety or power quality. MA joins a handful of other leading states, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), adopting use of a 100 percent of minimum load penetration screen in its supplemental review process. Most simply, this is a recognition that smaller systems have less complex review needs.
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) released an update of its highly influential Model Interconnection Procedures. IREC first developed Model Interconnection Procedures in 2005 in an effort to capture emerging best practices in this vital area. Several important evolutions in…