The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) has issued the 5th edition of its Connecting to the Grid guide. The report and survey addresses new and lingering interconnection issues relevant to all distributed generation (DG) technologies. The guide hopes to assist state regulators and other government officials, as well as utility representatives, DG stakeholders and consumers interested in the development of state-level interconnection standards.
“Government and consumer interest in renewables and other forms of clean DG is accelerating dramatically,” said Jane Weissman, executive director of IREC. “IREC feels it’s critical to provide an up-to- date, concise and informed resource on interconnection issues for those who are writing the rules of the game, and for those who want a clearer understanding of gaining access to our electric grid.”
The lack of uniform interconnection standards significantly complicates the interconnection process and historically has deterred the deployment of customer-sited DG. On the other hand, well-designed uniform interconnection standards facilitate the deployment of renewables and other forms of DG by specifying the technical and institutional requirements and terms by which utilities and DG system owners must abide. For example, New Jersey’s standards for interconnection and net metering have shown that when barriers are removed and adequate financial incentives are available, solar installations explode. Approximately 3,000 photovoltaic (PV) systems have been installed in New Jersey since 2004, catapulting the state into second place nationally.
The Connecting to the Grid guide includes discussions of:
- Technical issues related to DG interconnection, such as safety, power quality, and national codes and standards;
- Legal and procedural issues, such as insurance requirements, standard form agreements and recent trends in state-policy development;
- Net-metering issues, such as the ownership of renewable-energy credits and the rapid evolution of state policy in the absence of federal guidance; and
- Electrical and building inspectors.
In addition, IREC’s Connecting to the Grid guide includes a description of IREC’s model interconnection standards for generators up to 10 megawatts (MW) and IREC’s model net-metering rules for generators up to 2 MW in capacity. IREC’s model rules promote what it believes are the best practices developed by states, government entities and other non-governmental organizations.
- Connecting to the Grid – published by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, July2007