Solutions for Connecting Local Renewable Energy to the Grid More Quickly

New Clean Coalition report details best practices for streamlining interconnection of local, commercial-scale renewable energy projects

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PAEC region. Source: Clean Coalition

California has a low success rate for getting local renewable energy projects connected to the grid. As part of the Peninsula Advanced Energy Community (PAEC) initiative, the Clean Coalition studied this low success rate and investigated how the process could be streamlined. The result is a new report, titled Best Practices: Interconnection for Local, Commercial-Scale, Renewable Energy Projects. The report details best practices for wholesale distributed generation (wholesale DG) interconnection policies and provides clear recommendations to streamline the process in the state, with a particular focus on projects sized up to 1 megawatt (MW).

The Clean Coalition’s report concludes that the interconnection process for wholesale DG projects can be improved to increase efficiency, transparency, and cost-efficacy.

The Best Practices report offers specific recommendations to improve the predictability, flexibility, and objectivity of the wholesale DG interconnection review process, with the goal of improving the project success rate.

The Clean Coalition’s recommendations include transparent application and review processes, predictable and reasonable timelines, enhanced waiting-line management, and clear cost-certainty measures. These recommendations align with the goals of California Assembly Bill 327, which requires utilities to develop grid planning strategies and programs for the deployment of distributed energy resources. That includes siting local renewables at locations on the grid that can accommodate new local generation without expensive interconnection costs.

“By adopting the recommendations from this report, utilities can improve the predictability, cost certainly, and timeline for interconnecting wholesale DG projects to California’s grid,” said Craig Lewis, Executive Director for the Clean Coalition. “As a result, California will be able to bring more affordable clean local energy online — reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving the resilience of the grid, and avoiding the need to build new, costly transmission infrastructure.”

The PAEC is a groundbreaking initiative to streamline policies and showcase projects that facilitate local renewables and other advanced energy solutions, funded by the California Energy Commission. For more information, see http://www.clean-coalition.org/PAEC, and Best Practices: Interconnection for Local, Commercial-Scale, Renewable Energy Projects.

The Clean Coalition is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and a modern grid through technical, policy, and project development expertise.