Posts Tagged ‘Keyes’

25 November

Good News From FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission)


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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Great news to share with you: a response to the recent release from FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) below:


Sun Through Cloud (credit: sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker)

Contact: Sky Stanfield

This release is in response to the announcement and summary provided by FERC on Nov. 21st, the final rule language and decision have not yet been released.

FERC Announces Rule Changes to Facilitate More Efficient Interconnections for Small Renewable Energy Systems

November 22, 2013 – In a far-reaching decision, yesterday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) adopted significant modifications to the agency’s Small Generator Interconnection Procedures (SGIP), which should facilitate a more efficient interconnection process for small renewable generators.

“FERC’s rule changes are an important step forward for interconnection in the United States,” said Jane Weissman, president and CEO of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC).  “The changes will enable utilities to more effectively process applications for small generators, while maintaining the safety and reliability of the interconnection process – critically important as the country begins to experience a greater penetration of renewables on transmission and distribution circuits.”

The final language of the rule has not yet been released, but based upon the summary provided by FERC, two particularly significant modifications to the review process were authorized that will enable a greater number of small renewable generators to safely interconnect quickly without the need for a lengthy study process.

First, the current SGIP Fast Track size limit was modified by adopting an approach pioneered by IREC’s work. Instead of utilizing a single threshold across the entire system, IREC proposed adopting a size limit that would vary depending upon the generator type, the voltage of the line at the point of interconnection, the thickness of the wire, and the generator’s distance from the substation.

IREC developed this approach after hearing from utilities across the country regarding the relevant factors that determine what size generator can safely interconnect at different points on the system without the need for detailed study.  Instead of limiting Fast Track access to generators sized below 2 MWs, the newly adopted rule will allow certain appropriately located, inverter-based generators up to 5 MWs to interconnect using this expedited process.

Second, in response to the growing volume of interconnection applications and the number of circuits that are starting to see high penetrations of renewables, FERC modified the supplemental review process to incorporate a 100 percent of minimum load screen along with two additional technical screens that evaluate a generators’ impact on safety, reliability and power quality.

Under this modified rule, if a generator fails any of the initial Fast Track review screens, including the contested 15 percent of peak load screen, it can choose to be reviewed under the supplemental review screens rather than proceeding to full study.

“IREC helped to develop these proposed changes through active engagement with a wide range of stakeholders across the country,” said Sky Stanfield of Keyes, Fox & Wiedman, LLP, who represents IREC in regulatory matters. “We believe these changes at the federal level reflect best practices on interconnection and will act as a model for state procedures across the country.”  Michael Sheehan, an electrical engineer working on behalf of IREC, agrees.  “These updated rules will ensure that small renewable projects meet the safety and reliability needs of both the energy end-user and the utility.”

IREC worked in both California and Hawaii on the development of this improved process and believes it will help maintain the efficiency of the interconnection process across the country.

In its ruling, FERC also adopted an innovative Pre-Application Report that will enable generators to access greater information about existing system conditions prior to submitting a formal application. This process is expected to reduce the overall volume of interconnection requests and help make more efficient use of the existing distribution system. IREC assisted with the development of this process in California and Massachusetts and strongly supports its adoption at FERC.

Finally, FERC’s rule modifications allow generators the opportunity to comment on any upgrades that are determined by the utility to be necessary for interconnection of their system.

About IREC

IREC is a non-profit organization that believes clean energy is critical to achieving a sustainable and economically strong future. To pave this clean energy path, IREC works to expand consumer access to clean energy; generates information and objective analysis grounded in best practices and standards; and leads programs to build a quality clean energy workforce, including a unique credentialing program for training programs and instructors. Since 1982, IREC’s programs and policies have benefitted energy consumers, policymakers, utilities and the clean energy industry. As of July 2013, IREC is an accredited American National Standards Developer. For more information, visit

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gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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15 March

Massachusetts Paves the Way For More Renewable Energy in the Commonwealth


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

Just want to quickly share with you the press release from IREC (Interstate Renewable Energy Council, on March 14, 2013, below:

The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) issued an Order yesterday calling for several changes to its model interconnection tariff for distributed generation.  The DPU adopted most of the consensus recommendations suggested by the Distributed Generation Working Group (DGWG) in its September 2012 report and red-lined tariff.  The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) promoted many of the changes adopted by the DPU through its public comments and its participation in the DGWG in an advosory role. IREC commends the efforts of the DPU and the DGWG, which should encourage even more renewable energy growth in Massachusetts.

In recent years, the Common wealth has seen a huge surge of interconnection applications, which shows no signs of slowing down as interest in renewable energy continues to grow.  The revised interconnection procedures adopted yesterday should allow these applications to be processed more efficiently, and more renewable energy projects to come on line. “Massachusetts’ revised interconnection tariff represents a major improvement,” said Erica Schroeder of Keyes, Fox, & Wiedman LLP who represents IREC. “Overall its requirements are more clear and transparent, and more appropriate for the high volume of interconnection applications that Massachusetts is seeing.”

The changes adopted by the DPU touch on various parts of Massachusetts’ interconnection process, from before an application is submitted through the issuance of the interconnection agreement and construction.  For example, the DPU has approved a mandatory pre-application report for projects larger than 500 kilowatts. The pre-application report should help applicants prioritize among potential locations and configurations.  In addition, it should reduce the number of speculative applications that have bogged down the interconnection process in the past.  The updated Massachusetts tariff also includes several improvements to the technical screens for the simplified and expedited processes, which allow certain projects to move more quickly through to interconnection.

A more robust and transparent supplemental review process is another critical improvement in the new tariff.  Supplemental review allows projects that fail the Simplified and  Expedited Screens to still interconnect without full study.  To do so, these projects must pass the three supplemental review screens, which ensure that the project will not affect the safety and reliability of the grid. This improved supplemental review process should save both utilities and renewable developers time and money by avoiding unnecessary study.  It should also allow more projects to interconnect more quickly, while still supporting a healthy grid.

The DPU cited a number of open issues for stakeholders to pursue with respect to interconnection going forward, including the development of a group study process to study multiple, related applications concurrently.  IREC agrees that this is a critical issue to resolve in Massachusetts and plans to participate in the development of an effective group study process.

Another task that the DPU identified to determine the appropriate penetration screen for Supplemental Review.  The DPU adopted the more conservative option in its order yesterday-67 percent of minimum load-but required the new Technical Standards Review Group to spend the next year considering whether or not to increase the screen up to 100 percent of minimum load. “Using 100 percent of minimum load as the penetration screen in supplemental review is an emerging best practice nationally, as we’ve seen, for example, in California and Hawaii,” said Schroeder. “IREC hopes that Massachusetts will join these other states as a renewable energy leader and adopt the 100-percent screen.”

By February 2014, the new Technical Standards Review Group must provide a proposal regarding the supplemental review penetration screen to the DPU.  IREC plans to provide input in the development of this proposal. In the meantime, Massachusetts utilities must file updated individual tariffs in accordance with the revised tariff within 30 days of the order.  They must implement all non-tariffed changes adopted by the order immediately.

About IREC

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) is a non-profit organization accelerating the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency since 1982.  Its programs and policies lead to easier, more affordable connection to the utility grid;fair credit for renewable energy produced;best practices for states, municipalities, utilities and industries. IREC is a respected resource and national leader in quality assessment, workforce development, consumer protection and stakeholder coordination.  Since 2005, IREC has provided a foundation for the growing clean energy workforce through the credentialing of trainers and training programs and through the development of quality standards. For more information, visit

gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamker

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