US energy regulator proposes changes to speed up interconnection

Transmission lines. Author: Nayu Kim. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

June 17 (Renewables Now) - The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in the US on Thursday announced a proposed rule to accelerate the connection of new electricity generators to the grid and address the high backlog in the interconnection queues.

More than 1,400 GW of generation and storage projects were stuck in interconnection queues across the US at the end of 2021, with facilities now having to wait for an average of more than three years to link to the grid, the regulator said.

The proposed reforms include introducing a first-ready, first-served cluster study process, which would allow transmission providers to carry out interconnection studies covering numerous proposed generating facilities. The changes also seek to speed up interconnection queue processing through measures such as firm deadlines and penalties for transmission providers not completing interconnection studies on time. The proposals further include the possibility of co-located resources to share a single interconnection request.

“Today’s unanimous action addresses the urgent need to update, expedite and streamline our processes to interconnect new resources to the grid,” said FERC chairman Rich Glick. “We are witnessing unprecedent demand for new resources seeking to interconnect to the transmission grid, and queue delays are hindering customers’ access to new, low-cost generation,” Glick added.

The proposed rulemaking was welcomed by clean energy groups.

“Interconnection queues are one of today’s biggest challenges to building a clean energy economy, and ACP is pleased to see FERC propose a rule to address these pressing issues,” the American Clean Power Association’s (ACP) chief executive Heather Zichal said. “More than 1.4 terawatts of clean energy are waiting to connect to the grid, and delays and late-stage cost increases routinely stall projects,” she added. 

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Browse all articles from Plamena Tisheva

Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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