100% Renewable

Regulators update rules to speed renewable energy interconnection

New Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rule aims to accelerate solar, wind and energy storage project connection into grid.

Bureau of Land Management | Public Domain

In an effort to address a backlog of more than 10,000 energy projects awaiting interconnection, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved a rule to speed up the process of connecting new energy projects to the grid on Thursday.

According to FERC’s fact sheet on Order 2023,  transmission providers with be required to conduct larger studies encompassing numerous proposed generating facilities, rather than separate studies for each individual generating facility. The agency says this approach will increase the efficiency of the interconnection process, help minimize delays and improve cost allocation by analyzing the transmission system impacts of multiple projects at once.

The rule also sets firm deadlines for regional transmission organizations and other transmission providers to complete interconnection studies, with penalties if the deadlines are missed.

According to a report issued in April by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in 2022, it took five years for a renewable energy project to go from its interconnection request to commercial operation. That’s two years longer than it took to connect a project to the grid in 2015. The report said that 1,350 GW of generation and 680 GW of storage — are waiting for approval to connect to the grid and that most of the projects waiting for interconnection are renewable energy projects.

“America has renewable energy resources in spades and we can harness those resources more efficiently than ever before,” said Johanna Neumann, Senior Director of the Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy at Environment America. “The rules governing our energy system need to evolve to support a rapid transition to renewable energy.”

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