The key regulator for U.S. power grid activity wants to accelerate the connection of new electric generation facilities to the main grid, including renewables and distributed energy resources.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this week issued a proposed role on solving “significant current backlogs” in grid interconnection queues. According to FERC, there is more than 1,400 GW worth of generation capacity and energy storage waiting to connect into the system.
“Projects now face an average timeline of more than three years to get connected to the grid,” reads a FERC release on the notice of the proposed rule (NOPR). “As the resource mix rapidly changes, the commission’s policies must keep pace. Today’s NOPR proposes reforms to ensure that interconnection customers can access the grid in a reliable, efficient, transparent and timely manner.”
The queue can include hundreds of GWs in utility-scale wind and solar projects, but also more grid-edge projects such as distributed energy and microgrids which include renewables that can deploy back into the main grid.
Two years ago, a University of California-Berkley Goldman School of Public Policy report warned about the backlogs of zero or low-carbon energy resources in line to contribute to the nation’s generation mix. According to the UCB report, the 2020 interconnection queues in the U.S. include some 544 GW of wind, solar and standalone battery storage.
Those resources are needed to help transition the nation’s grid to a net-zero goal in coming decades, advocates say.