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No ‘silver bullet’: Report lays out fixes for interconnection delays plaguing US renewables and storage


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Dive Transient:

  • Grid interconnection processes for brand spanking new vitality assets in lots of states have didn’t sustain with rising curiosity in, and incentives for, photo voltaic and storage assets, researchers stated in a report that launched this month. “Because of this, interconnection purposes are rising as interconnection approvals are delayed,” it stated.
  • The Utilized Economics Clinic, a consulting group in Arlington, Massachusetts, says within the paper, “The Interconnection Bottleneck: Why Most Vitality Storage Initiatives By no means Get Constructed,” that policymakers want to determine interconnection processes to ” get a systemic view” of purposes fairly than inspecting interconnection purposes and grid upgrades in isolation.
  • The paper, ready for the Clear Vitality Group, a nonprofit group that provides technical experience and evaluation, says utilities, state officers, grid operators and the Federal Vitality Regulatory Fee ought to will change interconnection processes to “set up common enhancements, test effectiveness, and coordinate stakeholders to resolve advert hoc coordination issues.

Dive Insights:

The researchers made a number of suggestions and warned that many enhancements within the interconnection processes are obligatory. “No resolution is a silver bullet,” they are saying.

The paper recommends ending the price allocation mannequin for grid upgrades often known as value issue by spreading the prices of upgrading the distribution system over a wider set of stakeholders than the tasks making use of for interconnection.

One other suggestion is to check the proposed storage assets in a manner that exhibits how the assets can moderately be anticipated to carry out as soon as related.

“Nationally, nearly all tasks ready in interconnection queues are for photo voltaic, wind and storage tasks,” Todd Olinsky-Paul, senior undertaking director on the Clear Vitality Group, stated within the report’s launch. “The anticipate the interconnect is taking so lengthy that many tasks are misplaced and by no means constructed.”

On the PJM Interconnection, for instance, the interconnection value of storage is $335/kW, photo voltaic is $253/kW, onshore wind is $135/kW and offshore wind is $385/kW, the report stated. For pure fuel, the price of interconnection is $24/kW.

Partly, the growth of the interconnection queue is the results of the elevated dedication of states to decarbonization and elevated renewable vitality deployment, the report stated.

The report addresses interconnection bottlenecks on the transmission and distribution ranges. Its suggestions targeted on what states ought to contemplate to cut back obstacles on the distribution degree inside their regulatory jurisdiction.

The report makes use of Massachusetts as a case research, however the findings are “broadly relevant” throughout the US, it stated.

In Massachusetts, the annual proposed capability of photo voltaic, storage and hybrid solar-storage assets elevated by an element of eight between 2009 and 2022, “with a sharper spike in 2018,” the report stated. However the annual quantity of licensed capability is not going to be increased in 2022 than within the earlier decade.

The continued development of proposed photo voltaic and storage capability exceeding licensed capability means that the variety of purposes pending for interconnection or exiting interconnection processes is rising every year, the report stated.

Nationally, the transmission queue has quadrupled in measurement and is now about 63% bigger than the put in capability, based on the report. By comparability, in 2010 the US transmission interconnection queue was half the dimensions of put in capability.

The dramatic progress within the transmission queue largely resulted from elevated interconnection requests for photo voltaic, storage and hybrid photo voltaic storage tasks, the report stated.

The capability of vitality tasks on interconnection strains within the US will develop by 40% year-on-year by 2022, with greater than 1,350 GW of era and 680 GW of storage ready for approval to hook up with finish of 2022, based on a report from the Lawrence Berkeley Nationwide Laboratory in April.

Queue lengths are anticipated to develop because the Inflation Discount Act encourages larger curiosity in renewable vitality amongst builders, it stated.

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