A survey by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that virtually all distributed generation projects meet some sort of resistance from utilities when they try to interconnect with the grid. These onerous and/or expensive interconnection requirements, including some that may be unnecessary, comprise a key barrier to increased use of distributed power.
Prior to 2005, there were a variety of efforts underway at the federal level and within individual states to develop fair and uniform interconnection standards to help facilitate the deployment of distributed generation.
Withthe passage of the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005), section 1254 of EPAct requires states and "nonregulated" utilities to commence consideration of an interconnection standard based on the IEEE 1547 standard on or before August 8, 2006, and to make a determination regarding this standard on or before August 8, 2007. The folks at IREC are tracking these state level efforts at this link.
Find Below Interconnection Rules for DG Projects:
- Distributed Generation Interconnection Standards – Federal
- Distributed Generation Interconnection Standards – California
- Distributed Generation Interconnection Standards – Michigan
- Distributed Generation Interconnection Standards – Minnesota
- Distributed Generation Interconnection Standards – New York
- Distributed Generation Interconnection Standards – Texas
- Distributed Generation Interconnection Standards – Wisconsin
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Standards Coordinating Committee 21 continues development of the IEEE P1547 Draft Standard for Distributed Resources Interconnected with Electric Power Systems.
FEATURED FEDERAL RULES:
- IEEE Distributed Resources Interconnection Standard
In March 1999, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Standards Association Board voted to undertake the development of uniform standards for interconnecting distributed resources with electric power systems. The IEEE Standards Coordinating Committee 21 (IEEE SCC21), the committee responsible for developing technical standards for distributed technologies, is now working to develop IEEE P1547, the Standard for Distributed Resources Interconnected with Electric Power Systems. There are also now a handful of subparts to P1547 that are in various stages of development. This standards package, when approved and adopted, is expected to be a key milestone in the quest for a standardized and appropriate interconnection standard for the U.S. power industry. The objective is to establish minimum technical criteria and requirements for interconnection of distributed resources with the electricity delivery grid to achieve the ultimate goal of development of a uniform standard for electrical interconnections. The standard will address conditions necessary for optimum performance, operation, testing, safety and maintenance of interconnected distributed resources.
- IEEE Small-Scale PV Interconnection Standard
In January 2000, the IEEE Standards Board approved a standard for interconnecting photovoltaic (PV) systems under 10 kW to the utility grid. The new standard, entitled Recommended Practice for Utility Interface of Photovoltaic Systems, is referred to as IEEE Standard 929-2000.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
- FERC’s Generator Interconnection Activities
- Standard Interconnection Agreements for Wind Energy and Other Alternative Technologies – FERC Proposed Rulemaking, ongoing as of January 2005
- Standardization of Small Generator Interconnection Agreements and Procedures – Final Rule, FERC Order No. 2006, May 12, 2005
- Standard Interconnection Agreements and Procedures for Large Generators (>20MW) – Final Rule, FERC Orders No. 2003-A and 2003-B issued March 5, 2004 and December 20, 2004, respectively.
FEATURED STATE RULES:
Aregulatory proceeding in California addressing the distributed power interconnection issue was started at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) as a result of the 1999 order (R.99-10-025). The CPUC proceeding was completed and they issued an order on December 21, 2000 establishing distributed power interconnection standards for three of the state’s utilities – Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Diego Gas& Electric Company, and Southern California Edison Company. Other utilities in the state were directed to adopt the standards or submit a filing demonstrating compelling reasons why the adopted rule should not be adopted.
- CPUC Order Adopting Interconnection Standards – December 21, 2000
- More information in California
California Energy Commission has a section with Interconnection Information
- The Michigan Public Service Commission has issued an Order on Electric Interconnection Rules and Standards, July 8, 2003 [Complete Proceedings from Docket U-13745].
- Minnesota Distributed Generation Interconnection Standards and Tariffs
Two work groups were established by the MN PUC to develop the guidelines for utilities to use in developing a standard tariff and technical interconnection standards for distributed generation projects under 10 MW. A wealth of background materials are posted in this section. Final interconnection standard was adopted in September 2004 and DG tariff proposals have been filed in December 2004.
InDecember 1999, the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) issued a final order addressing interconnection of distributed generation (DG)resources of 300 kilowatts (kW) or less. The order addresses general technical guidelines for interconnection and application procedures. As part of an ongoing review of the requirements, substantive revisions were proposed and adopted in 2002 and 2003. Further review process in 2003 yielded changes consisting primarily of an increase in the upper capacity threshold from 300 kW to 2 MW, the adoption of an Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) standard for equipment certification, and the extension of the applicability beyond only radial distribution systems to also now include network distribution systems. The NY PSC adopted new rules in November 2004.
- New York State Standardized Interconnection Requirements For Distributed Generators 2 MW or Less Connected In Parallel With Utility Distribution Systems – as of November 2004
- Listing of Certified Distributed Generation Equipment – as of December 2004
- Order Modifying Standardized Interconnection Requirements – issued by the NY PSC, November 17, 2004 [view all documents for this Docket 02-E-1282]
- Order on Gas Transportation Rates for Distributed Generation Technologies – issued by the NY Public Service Commission, August 4, 2004 [view all documents for this Docket 02-M-0515]
- The orders via the link below direct NY utilities to modify their standby rates for customers with interconnection distributed generation projects. Standby rates are seen as a significant barrier for DG projects and the modifications in New York provide a nice incentive for DG projects while at the same time protect other customers from significant economic harm. The utilities involved are Rochester Gas & Electric Corporation, New York State Electric & Gas Corporation, Orange & Rockland Utilities, Inc., Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. and Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation.
Recognizing the environmental benefits of certain energy sources, customers that start DG operations between August 1, 2003 and May 31, 2006, using certain environmentally beneficial technology or small, efficient combined heat and power applications of less than one megawatt, can choose among three options. They can elect to remain on the current standard rate indefinitely, shift immediately to the new standby rate, or opt for a five-year phase- in period beginning on the effective date of the new standby rates. Under the standby rate decision, environmentally beneficial technology would include wind, solar, biomass, fuel cell technology, tidal, geothermal, and methane waste.
- New York Department of Public Service has a section on Distributed Generation and also a very nice section on the Debate over Stand-by Charges for Distributed Generation
TheTexas Public Utility Commission (PUC) adopted final rules (Project No. 21220) in December 1999 addressing technical and contractual issues related to installing distributed resources. The Texas standards place the burden of proof on the utility to show if an interconnection should be disallowed. The Commission adopted a standard interconnection agreement and a standard tariff interconnection form. In February of 2001, the PUC released the final version of their Distributed Generation Interconnection Manual (Project No. 21965).
- Texas Distributed Generation Interconnection Manual – Final – March 2001
- More information in Texas
Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) adopted final rules Project No. 21220 in December 1999
- Texas Statutes
Wis. Stat. § 196.025(4)) required the WI Public Service Commission to study the establishment of a program for providing incentives for the development of high-efficiency, small-scale electric generating facilities. New rules for inteconnection of DG projects of 15 MW and less were adopted in February 2004.
- Rules for Interconnecting Distributed Generation Facilities in Wisconsin – WI Administrative Code Chapter PSC 119, February 2004
- Distributed Generation Interconnection Procedure and Forms – April 2004
- Seeing the Light: Regaining Control of Our Electricity System – a book from the New Rules Project by David Morris.
- EERE’s Distributed Power web site has a section on Interconnection
- Interstate Renewable Energy Council’s Connecting to the Grid Web Site – offers a state by state table of interconnection rules for distributed power generators and other resources.