FERC: Small interconnects need easier approval

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Federal energy regulators are working to streamline the approval process for small generation interconnection requests, as well as increase customer benefits and efficiencies of the completed projects.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) proposed rulemaking evolved, in part, from new state renewable energy mandates for distributed and renewable generation. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have a variation of a Renewable Portfolio Standard, and FERC is tasked with supporting the achievement of these goals.

"As the country's generation mix continues to evolve, the Commission must ensure that its policies do not saddle customers with unnecessary costs or raise artificial barriers to new sources of energy," said FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur in a statement.

FERC's rules specifically would amend the Commission's Small Generator Interconnection Procedures (SGIP) and its Small Generator Interconnection Agreement (SGIA), which were passed in 2005 and regulate generation interconnections of 20 MW or less.

The first proposed reform permits potential interconnection customers to receive a pre-application report from potential transmission partners, which would add transparency by identifying possible pitfalls. Rules were also introduced to raise the Fast Track Process participation threshold for from 2 MW to 5 MW and reform some of its meeting and review process.

FERC will hold a comment period of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and is hopeful for wide participation, LaFleur noted.

For more:
-see the proposed rulemaking

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