On July 27, 2023, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) unanimously approved a final rule that aims to streamline and speed up the grid interconnection process for transmission providers. This move aims to offer more certainty in terms of the timing and costs associated with interconnection and prevent discrimination against emerging power generation sources.
FERC Chairman Willie Phillips expressed that the new rule will enable efficient and transparent grid connection services throughout the U.S., enhancing electricity reliability, resilience, and affordability for all consumers. The need for these reforms is highlighted by the fact that, by the end of 2022, over 2,000 gigawatts of generation and storage were waiting in interconnection queues throughout the country—this is equivalent to the electricity generation capacity of all the power plants that are currently operating in the U.S. Projects now face an average wait of up to five years to connect to the grid.
The final rule includes several key reforms, including the implementation of a first-ready-first-served cluster study process, with increased financial commitments for transmission providers, to improve the efficiency of the interconnection process and reduce delays. Additionally, the rule establishes firm deadlines and penalties if transmission providers fail to complete their interconnection studies on time. It also considers advanced transmission technologies in the interconnection study process and updates modeling and performance requirements for inverter-based resources to ensure ongoing system reliability.
The final rule, originating from a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in June 2022, will take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, with compliance filings due 90 days after publication.