As the latest move in its ongoing initiative to modernize the state's grid, California's Public Utility Commission (PUC) recently issued a decision to update state policy related to distribution grid interconnection of distributed energy resources (DER). Interconnection is the process by which utilities connect DER hardware and software to the outside electrical power system.
The revised policy requires utilities to publish distributed generation cost guides for electric generation developers. It caps developer cost at 125 percent of a utility's estimate for interconnection projects. The ruling applies to projects that don't fall within net metering.
The objective of the policy update is to help further standardize processes and provide more detailed information when estimating costs to help reduce cost uncertainty and streamline processes for utilities, developers, and consumers integrating DER.
The new interconnection rules represent an important step for California, as they add clarity to processes that have long been murky. The update received considerable support from all involved parties; a rarity when it comes to DER. Utilities, developers, and consumers seem to be finding pockets of common ground.
However, utilities shouldn't overlook a significant implication at the heart of the policy. Utilities are being asked to develop asset management plans and processes for assets they don't own.
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Keywords: Utilities, Grid Edge, Electric Distribution, Asset Management, Distributed Energy Resources, Renewables, Internet of Things, Energy Storage, ARC Advisory Group.