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IREC Publishes Updated "Connecting to the Grid" Guide

Jul 13, 2007 - Interstate Renewable Energy Council

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) has published a new edition of its Connecting to the Grid guide. The fifth edition of this guide, published in July 2007, addresses new and lingering interconnection issues relevant to all distributed generation (DG) technologies, including renewables, fuel cells, microturbines and reciprocating engines. Because interconnection issues remain largely in the domain of the states, the guide has been designed for state regulators and other policymakers, utilities, industry representatives and consumers interested in the development of state-level interconnection standards.

This free, 44-page publication includes discussions of:

* Technical issues related to DG interconnection, such as safety, power quality, and national codes and standards;

* Legal and procedural issues, such as insurance requirements, standard form agreements and recent trends in policy development;

* Net-metering issues, such as the ownership of renewable-energy credits and the rapid evolution of state policy in the absence of federal guidance; and

* Electrical and building inspectors.

Interconnection is an inherently complex issue due to the many technical and contractual considerations that need to be addressed. Furthermore, because the interconnection of DG challenges the century-old tradition of utility-owned centralized generation, it requires careful considerations and evokes new perspectives on ownership and control.

Many U.S. states, as well as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), have developed interconnection standards that specify the technical and policy requirements and terms that utilities and DG system owners must operate under. The lack of uniform interconnection standards significantly complicates the interconnection process and historically likely has deterred the deployment of customer-sited distributed generation (DG). On the other hand, well-designed uniform interconnection standards facilitate the deployment of renewables and other forms of DG by specifying the technical and institutional requirements and terms that utilities and DG system owners must abide by.

IREC's Connecting to the Grid guide also includes a description of IRECís model interconnection standards for generators up to 10 megawatts (MW) and IRECís model net-metering rules for generators up to 2 MW in capacity. IRECís model rules promote what it believes to be the best practices developed by states, government entities and other non-governmental organizations. IRECís model interconnection standards and net-metering rules have been instrumental in the development of effective standards and, to an extent, significant DG deployment in several U.S.