Why Are DER Interconnection Processes Important? | Clean Power Hub

Why Are DER Interconnection Processes Important?

DER interconnection processes can help ensure that DERs contribute to the reliable operation of the power system and help reduce the burden on utilities, which must process application requests, and on customers, who may not be able to navigate complex or unclear application processes. If interconnection processes are too complex, they will not only hurt individual customers, but can limit the development of a DER market in your power system.

While policymakers are not traditionally involved in the development of such processes, they can play an important role in setting clear expectations for various parties, like emphasizing a need for allowing DERs to interact with the power system, or ensuring clear application procedures for customers. Furthermore, policymakers can work with regulators to convene various power system stakeholders in the development of these rules to ensure all parties’ concerns are addressed.

What You Need To Know

  • Well-designed interconnection processes can help utilities quickly and efficiently handle applications from DER-adopting customers.
  • Interconnection rules can make sure DERs behave predictably and are uniformly capable of achieving specific policy goals.
  • Policymakers can help convene power system stakeholders to develop rules and regulations that reflect various concerns from utilities, customers and developers.
  • There are already interconnection rules and related practices for interconnecting DERs in place around the world that can be adopted fully or adapted for local contexts.

First, Look at These Slides

Good interconnection processes help coordinate the actions of various power system stakeholders to ensure DERs are safely and efficiently interconnected. These processes consist of rules regarding how applications are processed and standards that DERs must comply with before interconnecting.

Now, Look At This Figure

A typical DER interconnection and permitting process consists of a number of steps with associated rules and standards. A firm understanding of the interconnection process can prepare policymakers to make informed decisions when directing utilities, developers and regulators to update or modify existing practices.

Suggested Actions & Next Steps

  • Review an example of a DER interconnection process overview and identify key steps that map to the process in your power system.
  • Consider which parties you might involve to upgrade interconnection practices in your power system, and what areas you might focus on (improving customer application experience, safety, etc.).
  • Solicit opinions or formal comments from DER developers, utilities, customer advocacy groups and regulators to see what issues, at a high-level, might need to be addressed in any updates to interconnection rules or practices.
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