FERC eyes transmission reform to ease US connection process

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
FERC has made clear its intention of transmission reform. Image: Ryan McKnight/Flickr

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is eyeing potential reforms to transmission and interconnection rules for energy projects, a move which could help ease the connection process for solar and storage developments.

FERC issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANOPR) which seeks comment on the potential reforms or revisions, the first time an ANOPR has been issued in more than a decade.

The commission said the ANOPR is a response to changing energy patterns, typified by a shift in electricity generation from dense population centres to more remote areas. It intends to assess the need for more holistic transmission planning, cost allocation and generator interconnections processes to future proof the grid.

The process will explore what changes are needed to ensure transmission rates remain fair and not unduly discriminatory, while maintaining reliability.

The ANOPR will also consider whether FERC should demand providers determine renewable potential in their regions and plan transmission to facilitate the integration of renewable resources in those zones, as well as how to identify and allocate the cost of new transmission facilities.

Furthermore, it will determine if participant funding of upgrades is just and whether FERC should eliminate the independent entity variations that allow RTOs/ISOs to use participant funding for upgrades.

Gizelle Wray, director of regulatory affairs and counsel for US trade body the Solar Energy Industries Association, described the notice as an “important first step for the grid of the future”, claiming that it could “help us overcome utility-imposed market challenges that have hampered clean energy development across the United States”.

“The interconnection rules today allow utilities to put clean energy projects to the side and leave them in the interconnection queue for years,” said Wray.

“While Congress debates investments in grid infrastructure, we look forward to working with the Commission on a robust set of rules to efficiently connect clean energy projects and give them authority to approve the build-out of high-capacity transmission.”

The notice would serve as a continuation of FERC’s commitment to transmission reform, stemming from last month’s launch of a task force to support transmission system development in the US.

Having surpassed 100GW of cumulative solar PV generating capacity earlier this month, the US is anticipated to be at the forefront of solar installations over the coming years. Earlier this year a report co-published by SEIA and research firm Wood Mackenzie forecasted the US’ cumulative solar capacity would soar to more than 400GW by the end of the decade.

Read Next

July 27, 2021
More than 140 business leaders have urged the US Congress to pass President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill, telling lawmakers that the bill is “desperately needed” to renew the nation’s infrastructure
July 22, 2021
If current trends continue, renewable energy will provide roughly one-third of US electricity to the grid by 2030, although this could reach half if deployment increases
July 14, 2021
Residents and conservation groups have filed a lawsuit in federal district court against the Alabama Public Service Commission for approving utility company Alabama Power’s charges on customers with rooftop or on-site solar
June 18, 2021
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) this week presented a draft order aimed at establishing a joint Federal-State task force on electric transmission
PV Tech Premium
May 28, 2021
Grids continue to be a thorn in the side of European renewables as long connection queues and exorbitant fees risk stymying the clean energy transition. In this exclusive discussion from Large Scale Solar Europe 2021, we hear how grid operators are adapting to the demands of clean power generators.
April 16, 2021
The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has announced a string of initiatives to help develop the country’s power grid, including tightening a transmission incentive policy for utilities and a workshop that will explore how companies can benefit from grid-enhancing technology.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
August 19, 2021
At 9am (PT) | 6pm (CEST)
Solar Media Events
August 25, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 19, 2021
BRISTOL, UK