Interconnecting to the Distribution Grid -- the Big Opportunity for the Next Five Years
Keywords: gird interconnection, utility-scale solar, wholesale distributed generation
Abstract:California often serves as a bellwether, and this is generally true with respect to innovations that accelerate the transition to renewable energy. Currently, California uses the CSI/SGIP program to encourage development of small, behind-the-meter projects; and it uses the RPS program to encourage development of large, central station projects. Unfortunately, due to the inability of the small projects to achieve significant capacity levels, even in aggregate, and to the inability of the central station projects to come online until transmission infrastructure is enhanced over the next 5 to 10 years; California’s big opportunity to get significant renewable energy online within the coming years is to encourage development of midsize (20MW-and-under), distribution-interconnected projects. Such a paradigm shift is underway in California and it includes significant benefits that are associated with generating energy close to load. This presentation will explore the massive opportunity represented by Wholesale Distributed Generation (WDG), accounting for hundreds of GWs of renewable generation capacity in California alone, and the policy mechanisms and interconnection issues associated with unleashing WDG’s tremendous potential.