A key priority for the Clean Coalition is simplifying and streamlining the process for connecting smaller, local, “distributed generation” projects to the grid. This process is called “interconnection.”
We focus on ensuring that wholesale distributed generation (WDG) facilities can connect to the grid in a timely and fair manner. WDG projects are renewable energy projects connected to the distribution grid and sell this electricity to the utility, rather than powering an on-site building or facility.
Current interconnection processes are slow, complicated, and expensive. This drastically slows — and sometimes even derails — development of clean, local WDG plants.
To fix this problem, the Clean Coalition is working to reform the interconnection process so that WDG facilities can more easily connect to the grid. Our key principles for reforming the interconnection process include:
- Transparency — Too often, interconnection information is hard to come by. Developers, policymakers, and other stakeholders must have full and easy access to information, including interconnection studies, queues, costs, and grid maps that clarify the layouts and possibilities of electrical grids.
- Accountability — Utilities must adhere to clear and consistent rules and timelines.
- Cost certainty — Developers must know, as soon as possible, how much it will cost to connect a project to the grid. Earlier certainty means less risk and lower costs for developers, utilities, and consumers alike.
- Distributed generation priority — Local distributed generation projects should have priority over large, centralized power projects that rely on inefficient and expensive long-distance transmission to deliver power to customers.
- Interconnection 3.0 — With innovations in grid technology and interconnection processes, utilities will gain real-time intelligence into grid activity and will be able to run simple computer simulations to determine whether a new generation project can connect to the grid. Better forecasting and modeling, along with broader deployment of smart meters, will also give utilities a more detailed and realistic picture of grid operations.