FERC proposes changes to large generator interconnection process
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has proposed reforms to its large generator interconnection processes with an aim of improving the efficiency of interconnection requests and removing barriers to resource development.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) has three broad categories: improving predictability in the interconnection process; improving transparency for interconnection customers, and making use of underutilized existing interconnections.
- The NOPR applies to large generating facilities, but also seeks comment on whether any of the proposed reforms should be applied to small generating facilities of 20 MW or less.
FERC’s existing interconnection policies date back to 2003. Since then the federal agency says many interconnection customers report delays in the interconnection process and some interconnection queues have significant backlogs.
One of the problems FERC is looking into is the withdrawal of interconnection requests late in the process, which can require other remaining participants to issue new studies and leads to further delays.
Those problems, in turn, present obstacle as some interconnection customers are “less able to absorb unexpected and potentially higher costs or extended timelines resulting from the withdrawal of requests higher in the queue,” FERC said in the NOPR.
Part of the impetus for the NOPR stems from a June 2015 request by the American Wind Energy Association for FERC to consider whether changes should be made to its large generator interconnection procedures and agreement to reflect the nation's transition to cleaner energy sources, SNL reports.
After receiving comments on a June 2015 petition for rulemaking, FERC convened a technical conference in May 2016 and subsequently identified proposed reforms that could remedy potential shortcomings in the existing interconnection processes.
Comments on the NOPR (Docket RM17-8) are due 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register.
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