Rising number of units less than 20 MW prompts FERC to alter rules

FERC is proposing revisions to its small generator interconnection policy to reflect the need for those generators to “ride through” and stay connected during abnormal frequency and voltage events.

Under the proposal, FERC would revise the pro forma Small Generator Interconnection Agreement (SGIA) adopted in Order No. 2006 and amended in Order No. 792 to require generators smaller than 20 MW signing new interconnection agreements to ride through abnormal frequency and voltage events, and not disconnect during those events.

The notice of proposed rulemaking appeared in the Federal Register on March 17.

FERC says that changing industry conditions and the increasing presence and the impact of distributed energy resources on the electric system now require the extension of that capability to small generators similar to the requirements for generators larger than 20 MW.

FERC also notes that the proposed changes would apply only to small generator interconnections subject to its jurisdiction.

Comments on the proposal are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

The March 17 Federal Register notice said FERC “intends that the proposed revisions address the commission’s concerns that it would be unduly discriminatory to impose these requirements on large generating facilities and not small generating facilities.”

FERC said in the notice that the impact of small power generators on the grid has changed and the number of small units has increased.

“For example, NERC has noted in multiple reports, the mix of generation resources is changing and the high penetration of distributed energy resources will impact the reliability of the electric grid if sufficient care is not taken to mitigate potential adverse impacts,” according to the published notice.

“Moreover, technology now available to newly interconnecting small generating facilities, such as smart inverters, permits the capability to ride through frequency and voltage disturbances,” according to the FERC notice.

“The commission acknowledges that some areas have a greater penetration of distributed resources than others at this time. Nevertheless, the commission believes that the proposed reforms to the pro forma SGIA are appropriate on an industry-wide basis now,” according to the Federal Register notice.

R-16-13

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3294 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 16 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.