What do we really think about interconnection? Anonymous speakers preview GridTECH Connect Forum Southeast

What do we really think about interconnection? Anonymous speakers preview GridTECH Connect Forum Southeast
(What do we really think about interconnection?)

The GridTECH Connect Forum is a collaborative opportunity for clean energy stakeholders to meet face-to-face and have the type of honest discussions that propel the industry forward. February’s event in Orlando will wrangle together developers, utilities, and regulators with a common interest in advancing the energy transition. We’ll share some civil discourse, enjoy a cocktail hour, and perhaps the world will be a slightly better place at the end of the day.

Classically, those aforementioned groups rarely interact positively and proactively. Indeed, one might even perceive a little animosity between them at times… And what better way to suss that out than through some anonymous surveys?

We sent a simple questionnaire to the professionals who have agreed to speak at February’s GridTECH Connect. In the future, we intend to convey some more of those insights with proper attribution. But since the conference is supposed to be about collaboration and getting everyone together in the same room, wouldn’t it be kinda cool to know what people really think about interconnection? Without worrying about blowback?

Take a peek behind the veil, and we’ll see you in February. My snarky comments are in italics.

What are you looking forward to about attending GridTECH Connect Southeast?

“Networking and hearing nuanced opinions and experiences.”

“Conversing with a wide variety of stakeholders on the IX issues with the potential to find solutions to unlock a plethora of new generation on the grid.” (Bonus points to this respondent for using the non-acronym IX, which after some Googlin’ I’ve learned is called an “initialism”)

“Networking with utility companies and other developers.”

“Meeting other colleagues in the industry and learning about interconnection best practices.” (Cocktail hour)

“The knowledge to be gained and the ability to contribute to the discussion.”

From your perspective, what are the largest challenges facing DER interconnection? 

“Grid flexibility and operations in diverse regulatory and utility environments.”

“Timeline and accuracy of studies. Manpower and consistent estimates are needed to smooth out the process.”

“From my perspective (developer perspective), not having distribution data/information is challenging for developers. We have to rely on utilities for this info, and sometimes responses take longer than desired for answers/study results.”

“Ensuring that the Power Delivery system is appropriately built out to handle the interconnection.”

“Timing for study, cost, and opaqueness of some jurisdictions.”

GO DEEPER: Dive deep into the impact of cluster studies on DER interconnection in the Southeast at the upcoming GridTECH Connect Forum in Orlando, Florida on Feb. 26. Join industry leaders for an analysis of cluster studies and cost-sharing, as well as an intimate look at Duke Energy’s transition from serial to cluster studies. Register today!

If you could wave a magic wand and fix any aspect of the
interconnection process, what would you change?

“Transparency for the generators’ impact on the grid, from a standard and emergency operations perspective.”

“I would clear out speculative projects that are holding their place so that “ready” projects can move forward with a clear picture.” (So the Thanos approach?)

“The time it takes to get study results back.”

“Timeline to interconnect.” (Sensing a theme yet?)

“I would like it to be more efficient and transparent at the beginning so we spend less time and money on DOA projects.”

Imagine it’s 2050. Did we meet our energy goals?
What role does interconnection play in our grid?

“No. But the process is clearer and more proven than before.” (Love the optimism in the New Year!)

“Yes, we did! We found a way to turn IX into an accelerant instead of a blockade.”

“It will be a challenge to interconnect the amount of clean energy needed to meet our energy transition goals.”

“I think we will, but interconnection will remain an obstacle. I think we will see a LOT of repowering of projects that have grandfathered injection rights.”

“If it’s 2050 and we met our energy goals, interconnection will have to have gone through a huge optimization process.”

How would you rate the current state of communication between
developers, utilities, and regulators? How would you improve it? 

“6 out of 10. I think conferences like this and other forums are needed to connect all of the stakeholders together.” (This editor appreciates the shoutout and this respondent’s unprompted adherence to the classic 1-10 scale)

“Fair… Have more standardized practices across the industry.”

“It flows but is constrained. Not sure when I’ll hear back nor the value of information.”

“No comment.” (Saucy!)

“I think it is too difficult to pinpoint this due to the case-by-case basis of each project. Ultimately, I think we need more communication between developers and utilities/regulators for real-time problem-solving.”