in News Departments > New & Noteworthy
print the content item

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has adopted a substantial revision to Rule 21 (9.13.12), the state interconnection procedures. According to the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), the change establishes several new national best practices, and removes barriers to continued growth of the state's renewable energy market.

The product of a year-long process, the commission unanimously approved a settlement between the three major investor-owned utilities and 11 other stakeholders, including IREC. The settlement puts in place new procedures through changes to Rule 21.

The new Rule 21 adopts a modified screening mechanism that, according to IREC, more effectively sorts applicants into a study path that corresponds to the level of review necessary for the project. The new multi-tiered study process is expected to allow the state to safely and reliably move toward higher penetrations of renewables while still processing applications efficiently.

Specifically, the revised procedures drastically improve the clarity of the supplemental review process by adding precise screens and including concrete timelines for review completion. The procedures retain the 15%-of-peak-load penetration screen in the initial fast-track review process, but under supplemental review, the utilities will apply an improved 100%-of-minimum-load threshold.

The adoption of this improved penetration-based screen is a significant achievement for solar projects because it is more relevant and less conservative than the 15% of peak load screen, IREC adds. The supplemental review screen looks at minimum load measured during the daytime, when solar systems are actually generating power.

Responding to applicant concerns about the lack of transparency in the process, the revised rules add clearer timelines, more explanation of the technical standards, and offer a pre-application report that can help applicants screen possible project locations prior to submitting an interconnection request.

The revisions to Rule 21 are also significant for transmission-dependent projects that need to be studied in conjunction with projects proceeding under the federally regulated tariffs of the utilities and the California Independent System Operator. Numerous wholesale distributed generation projects in Southern California Edison's territory had been stuck in a seemingly never-ending study cycle due to these dependencies. IREC predicts that these improved procedures will provide those projects with a path forward, as well as reduce the extensive study queues found in some areas.

"This ruling is of national interest," says IREC Executive Director Jane Weissman. "Regulatory successes like this in one state provide replicable examples for other states, providing the foundation for a robust clean energy industry in the public's best interest."





Hse SandyHook
Latest Top Stories

DOE Report: U.S. Wind Power Prices Reach All-Time Low

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), wind power continues to play a larger role in the U.S.' energy mix and is the cheapest it has ever been in the country.


Survey Reveals What U.S. Consumers Expect From Their Utilities

GE's new survey measures Americans' views on the state and future of the grid, as well as how much extra consumers would be willing to pay for better power reliability.


How A GIS Can Help Utilities Address The Aging Workforce And Capitalize On Data

Baby Boomers, whose experience and know-how have served the utility industry so well for decades, are retiring. The author suggests utilities can use a geographic information system (GIS) to fill in resultant knowledge gaps.


Sensus Smart Meters Tied To More Overheating Incidents And Fires

SaskPower is investigating two new meter failures, and Portland General Electric is working to replace 70,000 Sensus units amid fire concerns.


SaskPower Halts Smart Meter Installations Following Fires

The Canadian utility has suspended its smart meter deployment as it investigates half a dozen fires associated with the meters.

S&C Electric_id176
edf_id180