With 288 storage and generation projects lined up, California eases interconnection process
- The California ISO Board of Governors on Thursday approved a trio of policy changes aimed at "clearing the path" for generation and storage projects to interconnect with the state's grid, including measures that allow flexibility in meeting deadlines.
- The board of the ISO approved network upgrade definitions, minimum acceptance criteria and validation procedures for interconnection requests, as a result of a year-long stakeholder process.
- The interconnection changes must still be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, but the ISO said they could be in effect within six months.
The ISO has 288 active generation and storage projects currently in its interconnection queue, and the board hopes the policy changes will "smooth the process" to bring them online.
The new network upgrade definitions and clarifications on cost responsibility could be in effect as soon as this summer, the ISO said, while the minimum acceptance criteria and validation procedures for interconnection requests are expected to take effect in April.
"These enhancements will ultimately help California meet public policy goals in the midst of a quickly changing energy environment," the ISO board said in a statement.
The changes would help to address validation timelines that both the ISO and transmission owners have found "challenging," the board said. As the volume of requests has grown, the complexity of power plants has increased and reliability requirements have become more stringent.
The ISO said changes to validation procedures for interconnection requests "would extend the interconnection validation period and allow flexibility in meeting deadlines."
The changes also add definitions to the ISO tariff, which the board said will help "to clarify which network upgrades impact interconnection costs, and how the costs are calculated. The tariff changes would make clear the method of figuring costs and assigning financial responsibility, and give terms strict definitions, to avoid ambiguity and customer confusion."
As California's renewable capacity has grown, the grid operator has struggled to incorporate a wave of distributed energy resources (DERs) onto the grid and into wholesale markets.
Last September, the ISO approved a variety of measures aimed at fostering greater participation of DERs in the state’s wholesale power market. Among the measures approved, the ISO made adjustments to how behind-the-meter energy storage resources participate and altered bidding requirements to make it easier for demand response resources to participate in the wholesale market.
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