Pennsylvania Seeks Input on RE Interconnection

Pennsylvania is the latest state to enact a Renewable Portfolio Standard mandating that electric utilities source a portion of their electricity from renewable energy sources. With this legislation comes a requirement for the state to establish interconnection standards and procedures for both utility scale renewables and those that would be installed privately by homeowners and businesses.

This could help spur additional demand and deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and other forms of distributed generation. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has initiated an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANOPR) concerning these interconnection standards and procedures for small generators, and has issued a request for comments on these standard and procedures. After receiving and considering comment submissions, the PUC will issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR). The PUC has recognized the need to implement interconnection standards in order to (1) eliminate unnecessary barriers to entry in the distributed generation (DG) market, (2) promote DG in order to provide peak-demand responsiveness, (3) enhance grid reliability, (4) increase transparency in the interconnection process, (5) create uniformity and ease the difficulty presented by a patchwork of different resources, and (6) lower the overall cost of locating and placing DG in Pennsylvania. The PUC began examining interconnection standards for small generators in January 2001 when the Commission established an Interconnection Working Group (IWG). However, the IWG suspended work in spring 2001 when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an ANOPR on interconnection standards. The IWG was reactivated after FERC released a NOPR on small-generator standards in July 2003. In its order initiating an ANOPR concerning interconnection standards in Pennsylvania, issued November 18, 2004, the PUC describes interconnection standards implemented by New York, New Jersey and Texas. The order also provides a description of FERC’s NOPR, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ (NARUC) interconnection model, and PJM’s progress with respect to adoption of standardized interconnection technical requirements. Comments should address technical requirements and interconnection procedures, and should indicate the appropriate generation size suitable for small-generation interconnection standards and procedures. The PSC is also interested in comments regarding issues specific to Pennsylvania that may require the Commission’s attention. Comments may be filed by any interested person or on behalf of an entity. Submissions should clearly indicate which of models described by the PSC (see above) is preferable and whether the model requires changes because of issues specific to Pennsylvania. Interested parties must file comments within 60 days of publication of the ANOPR in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Due to the lengthy comment period, no extensions will be granted. Parties must file an original comment form, and 15 copies of each set of comments to the following address: Secretary, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission P.O. Box 3265 Harrisburg, PA 17105-3265 Information courtesy of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.
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