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FERC Discusses Faster Grid Connections For Renewable Projects

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is expected to vote on Thursday on measures to accelerate the connections to the grid for solar and wind projects in a move that could expedite the clean energy rollout in America.

FERC’s open meeting on Thursday is expected to discuss and vote on “Improvements to Generator Interconnection Procedures and Agreements,” according to the agenda.

Connecting new projects to the grid faster could help accelerate the deployment of solar and wind capacity as the procedure to have the generators connected to the grid could become easier than the current complex process.

FERC aims to reform the transmission interconnection processes to speed up project connections to the grid, FERC chairman Willie Phillips told Reuters in May.

“We cannot reliably and affordably manage this energy transition if we continue to have expensive delays in the connection queues,” Phillips added.

Nearly 2,000 gigawatts (GW) of solar, storage, and wind in transmission grid are stuck in interconnection queues in America, research by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory showed earlier this year.

While the queues indicate particularly strong interest in solar and wind energy and battery storage, “this growing backlog has become a major bottleneck for project development,” Berkeley Lab said.

Projects are taking longer and longer to complete the interconnection study process and come online, which results in most of these interconnection requests ultimately being canceled and withdrawn, according to the research.

Another analysis, by the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), found last month that thousands of renewable energy projects are stuck in grid interconnection queues across the country, facing long delays and rising costs.

“The current grid backlog is unprecedented,” ACORE President and CEO Gregory Wetstone said.

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“With commonsense reforms, grid planners and operators could ease the logjam in our nation’s interconnection queues, accelerating the renewable transition and delivering meaningful economic and health benefits to states across America.”  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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