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FERC approves new small generator interconnection procedures


From the November 25, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published November 25, 2013

By Robert Varela
Editorial Director
In a move to reduce the time and cost to interconnect solar and other small generating units to the grid, the Federal Energy Regulation Commission on Nov. 21 approved a final rule revising its pro forma small generator interconnection procedures and agreement. Commission staff said the final rule largely reflects the proposed rule. The 240-page final rule is posted on FERC's website.

In joint comments filed earlier this year, APPA, the Edison Electric Institute and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association had urged FERC to use a consensus process to update the small generator interconnection rule and said the record "cannot support a finding that the commission’s proposed standards are just and reasonable, not unduly preferential, or would impair reliability or safety." (See Public Power Weekly, June 10.) Any changes should be minimal; and should not hurt safety, reliability or power quality; should not unduly burden utilities; and should allow for regional differences, the associations told FERC.

The final rule, which applies to units with capacity of 20 MW or less, makes four basic changes:
  • Interconnection customers can pay transmission providers for a pre-application report to help them evaluate interconnection points;
  • Units of up to 5 MW, rather than 2 MW, are eligible for a fast-track process;
  • More options are available to a customer for projects that fail the fast-track screens that identify reliability or safety issues; and
  • Interconnection customers can provide written comments on transmission system upgrades that are necessary for an interconnection. 

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