FERC proposes rule for wind power interconnection

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 21, 2005 — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today proposed regulations that would remove barriers to wind-generated electricity while helping to ensure continued reliability of the national power grid.

Wind-generated power is a growing source of electric generation in the United States, but unique technical characteristics may impede the interconnection of wind facilities with the nation’s grid system.

In 2003, the Commission adopted standard procedures for the interconnection of generation facilities larger than 20 megawatts (Order No. 2003). The rule sets uniform procedures that a transmission provider and an interconnection requester must follow throughout the interconnection process, including legal rights and obligations of the parties, cost responsibility, milestones for the project’s completion and a process for resolving disputes.

Employing standard procedures and interconnection agreements reduces interconnection time and costs, helps preserve reliability and lowers wholesale prices for the nations’ customers, the Commission said. Today’s action will further these goals and help expand the diversity of energy supplies.

The interconnection procedures adopted in Order No. 2003 are tailored to more traditional power generation sources. Today’s proposal would include certain technical requirements that transmission providers must apply to interconnection service for wind generation plants. These requirements would be applied in addition to the standard interconnection procedures adopted in Order No. 2003.

The Commission is proposing to require wind plants to demonstrate the ability to continue operation even if a low voltage condition is experienced on the grid, to stabilize voltage levels and help the transmission grid stay in balance. Wind-powered facilities further would be required to have supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) capability to ensure real-time communication with transmission providers. The Commission also is seeking comment on whether there are other generating technologies that should comply with these technical requirements.

In Order No. 2003-A, the Commission recognized that the standard procedures adopted in Order No. 2003 were designed around the needs of traditional synchronous generation facilities. The Commission exempted wind plants from certain requirements in that order and said it would issue later today’s proposed requirements adapted to the special characteristics of wind energy.

Today’s proposal responds to a request by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) that the Commission set specific standards applicable to the unique characteristics of wind generation plants. The AWEA petition was discussed at a Commission technical conference in September (Docket No. PL04-15-000, Interconnection for Wind Energy and Other Alternative Technologies).

Comments on the proposed rulemaking, Interconnection for Wind Energy and Other Alternative Technologies, should be submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of the Secretary within 30 days after the notice’s publication in the Federal Register.

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