FERC proposes utility interconnection deadlines, penalties for noncompliance

Today, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released a Proposed Regulation Notice (NOPR) outlining the proposed interconnection reforms the Commission would like to adopt to reduce interconnection backlogs and accelerate clean energy adoption.

The proposed rules are closely aligned with the joint recommendations presented by SEIA and its partners in February 2022 on interconnection reform. SEIA recently explained and expanded on these comments in a white paper on interconnection released earlier this week.

FERC unveiled a number of meaningful proposals, including:

  • Fixed deadlines for utilities conducting interconnection studies;
  • New pathways for interconnection studies that simultaneously study the impact of a number of projects attempting to connect to the grid, also known as a standard cluster study;
  • Studies based on actual operating conditions for renewable energy generators; and
  • Transparent and standard influenced systems study processes.

Below is a statement from Ben Norris, Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs at SEIA on the development:

“We are excited to see the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) take bold action to remove interconnection queues across the country, which have grown to more than a terawatt of generation and storage projects. SEIA has long advocated changes to the interconnection process and we are pleased to see that FERC has followed many of SEIA’s recommendations.

“Interconnection challenges have simmered under the surface for years and today remain one of the biggest barriers to meeting our state and federal clean energy goals. We commend FERC for bringing this issue to the fore and taking action before it’s too late.

“The most important part of these reforms is the built-in responsibility for utilities. For years, utilities have been dragging their feet on interconnection, and these regulations would introduce deadlines for completing interconnection studies and sanctions for utility failures. This adds more predictability and transparency to the process and significantly speeds up review times. We also believe that the cluster studies, the changes to the systems studies and a more realistic view of the operating conditions for renewable energy producers will significantly improve the interconnection process.

“All of these proposed reforms are an important step forward and will help to significantly improve efficiency and reduce application withdrawals. They will also help reduce overall project costs and continue to lower the cost of affordable clean energy.

“We look forward to supporting these recommendations and continuing to work with FERC on the many opportunities they have to improve both distribution and interconnection at the transmission level,” he continued.

News item from SEIA

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