California ISO seeks to advance mini-solar plants, other distributed generation

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Folsom, Calif., May 17, 2012 — The California Independent System Operator is betting that commercial rooftop solar arrays and other small-scale generation will make it easier to connect directly to local electricity grids.

The California Independent System Operator Corporation board of governors voted to streamline the process for interconnecting distributed generation, which includes renewable projects.

The California ISO will annually publish information showing quantities of potential distributed generation at various grid locations. The assessment will be used by load-serving entities, resource developers and local regulatory authorities in negotiating renewable energy contracts and developing projects.

The benefit of the new interconnection process is that distributed generation will obtain deliverability status in about half the time as the current process. Achieving "deliverability" qualifies projects as eligible for being counted toward the resource adequacy requirements of utilities and other load serving entities. Currently, it can take about two years to obtain deliverability status at the wholesale level because of the in-depth engineering analysis and customer consultation performed as part of the interconnection process.

The board approval will enable the ISO to file tariff changes with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) so that the streamlined process can be integrated into the ISO's 2012/2013 transmission planning cycle.

With a timely FERC approval, the ISO will perform the first distributed generation deliverability assessment in November, publish the first results in February 2013, and conduct the first allocation of available deliverability shortly afterward.

The California ISO operates the state's wholesale transmission grid, providing open and non-discriminatory access supported by a competitive energy market and comprehensive planning efforts.

Partnering with about a hundred client organizations, the nonprofit public benefit corporation is dedicated to the continual development and reliable operation of a modern grid that operates for the benefit of consumers. The ISO bulk power market allocates space on transmission lines, maintains operating reserves and matches supply with demand.

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