December 2, 2013 | Barbara Vergetis Lundin
Read more: FERC Order 792 opening door to more grid-tied renewables - FierceEnergy
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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has passed Order 792, Small Generator Interconnection Agreements and Procedures, amending Order 2006, which established terms and conditions for public utilities to provide just and reasonable interconnection service for small generators.
This revision specifically adds energy storage to the category of resources eligible to interconnect to the power grid under the Small Generator Interconnection Procedures (SGIP) and/or Fast Track Process. In addition, it clarifies how to measure the size of a storage device for determining SGIP and Fast Track eligibility.
The Order will open the door for connecting more renewable resources to the power grid.
"We commend the FERC Commissioners for acknowledging that energy storage should be able to participate in the small generator interconnection process on our electric grid and that our rules and policies should evolve as well," stated Darrell Hayslip, chair of the Electricity Storage Association. "These reforms…further facilitate the deployment of storage on the power grid."
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) agrees, saying that the rule will expedite and reduce the cost of solar project interconnection while maintaining the reliability and safety of the electric grid.
In 2005, FERC issued Order No. 2006, which for the first time established national interconnection procedures applicable to generation projects that are 20 MW or less and subject to FERC's wholesale jurisdiction. Order No. 2006 was groundbreaking, and the procedures were voluntarily adopted by many states to apply to the retail interconnection process. However, demand for solar energy has grown dramatically since the original order was issued more than seven years ago, and certain aspects of the order have resulted in needless barriers to cost-effective and timely interconnections.
Order 792 will allow solar projects that meet certain technical requirements to qualify for a "fast track" interconnection process, thus eliminating the need for costly and time-consuming studies and reducing interconnection bottlenecks.
SEIA is urging state regulators to consider using FERC's new rule as a model and starting point for updating their own interconnection rules.