The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) has just released the 2009 updates for its highly respected and influential rules and procedures for interconnecting and net metering distributed generation.
There are many hurdles for connecting renewable energy projects to the existing electric power grid involving transmission lines, substations, regulatory processes and more. The good news is that both industry and government groups have invested in research on how to better connect renewable energy projects to the grid and how to construct a smart grid that can support a clean energy future.
ITC Holdings Corp. has worked to develop the Green Power Express, a network of transmission lines that would facilitate the movement of 12,000 MW of power from the wind-abundant areas in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa to Midwest load centers, such as Chicago, southeastern Wisconsin, Minneapolis and other states that demand clean, renewable energy.
Interconnection - Getting Energy to Market
The electrical generation, transmission, and distribution system has been labeled the most complex machine ever created by humans. There are many rules and regulations to ensure that it runs reliably, and as a result the process for interconnecting your energy project with this system involves dealing with regulatory agencies at the state and regional level as well as utility personnel, engineering consultants, and lawyers with experience with interconnection contracts. It can take over a year to complete the required interconnection studies and can cost your project up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. You will need to weigh the results of conversations and studies to determine if it is worth moving on to the next phase of studies or if the cost of interconnection will not allow your site to be profitable.
Interconnection is the process of hooking your wind electricity generator into the larger electricity grid.
Interconnection standards and policies vary from state to state, and can have a large impact on the economics and feasibility of wind projects.
Learn more about interconnection standards from The Interstate Renewable Energy Council's Connecting to the Grid program.
This is the production of reactive power to maintain stability on the transmission system. Power on the system comes in two main types: the first is the power that is actually delivered to end users, and the second is reactive power, which is power provided to the system to maintain the system, rather than for end-use consumption.
The contract to buy the electricity generated by a power plant. Securing a good PPA is often one of the most challenging elements of wind project development.
A electric transformer that is mounted on the ground as opposed to a pole mounted transformer. A pole mounted transformer is mounted on a pole that holds electric power lines.