FERC proposes interconnection reforms for new electric generation facilities

Published on June 20, 2022 by Liz Carey

Last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a proposed rule to expedite the current process for connecting new electric generation facilities to the grid.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) is intended to address significant backlogs in interconnection queues by improving the interconnection procedures, providing greater certainty, and preventing undue discrimination against new generation.

“Today’s unanimous action addresses the urgent need to update, expedite and streamline our processes to interconnect new resources to the grid,” FERC Chairman Rich Glick said. “We are witnessing unprecedent demand for new resources seeking to interconnect to the transmission grid, and queue delays are hindering customers’ access to new, low-cost generation.”

The agency said that by the end of 2021, more than 1,400 gigawatts of generation and storage were waiting in the queues for interconnection – more than triple the total volume from five years ago. Projects now face an average timeline of more than three years to connect to the grid. The commission said that as the resource mi changes, its policies must change too. The NOPR proposes reforms, the commission said, that will ensure interconnection customers can access the grid in a reliable, efficient, transparent, and timely manner.

The NOPR includes implementing a first-ready, first-served cluster study process, improving interconnection queue processing speed, incorporating technological advancements into the interconnection process, and updating modeling and performance requirements.

The American Clean Power Association (ACP) praised the announcement.

“Interconnection queues are one of today’s biggest challenges to building a clean energy economy, and ACP is pleased to see FERC propose a rule to address these pressing issues,” ACP CEO Heather Zichal said. “More than 1.4 terawatts of clean energy are waiting to connect to the grid, and delays and late-stage cost increases routinely stall projects.  ACP believes that FERC’s proposed rule represents an important step in bringing certainty to the timing and cost of interconnection so that projects can quickly and reliably connect to the grid and deliver affordable, clean energy to customers. ACP and its members look forward to working with FERC to finalize this rule.”

Comments on the NORP are due 100 days after publication in the Federal Register, and reply comments are due 130 days after publication.