FERC eyes transmission reform to ease US connection process
The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is eyeing potential reforms to transmission and interconnection rules for energy projects, a move which could help ease the connection process for solar and storage developments.
FERC issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANOPR) which seeks comment on the potential reforms or revisions, the first time an ANOPR has been issued in more than a decade.
The commission said the ANOPR is a response to changing energy patterns, typified by a shift in electricity generation from dense population centres to more remote areas. It intends to assess the need for more holistic transmission planning, cost allocation and generator interconnections processes to future proof the grid.
The process will explore what changes are needed to ensure transmission rates remain fair and not unduly discriminatory, while maintaining reliability.
The ANOPR will also consider whether FERC should demand providers determine renewable potential in their regions and plan transmission to facilitate the integration of renewable resources in those zones, as well as how to identify and allocate the cost of new transmission facilities.
Furthermore, it will determine if participant funding of upgrades is just and whether FERC should eliminate the independent entity variations that allow RTOs/ISOs to use participant funding for upgrades.
Gizelle Wray, director of regulatory affairs and counsel for US trade body the Solar Energy Industries Association, described the notice as an “important first step for the grid of the future”, claiming that it could “help us overcome utility-imposed market challenges that have hampered clean energy development across the United States”.