Interconnection with the Grid
Interconnection is the physical connection of two electric systems that allows for the sale or exchange of electricity. A renewable energy facility that is not an isolated or stand-alone system must be interconnected to the electricity grid. The generation capacity of the facility generally determines whether it is most appropriate for the facility to be interconnected into an electric service provider’s transmission or distribution system.
Once the generation capacity is determined, the next step after developing a project concept for any owner or developer of a potential renewable energy project should be to contact the utility to which the project will be interconnected to determine what the requirements will be.
In North Carolina, regulated utilities such as Duke Energy, Progress Energy, and Dominion North Carolina Power are required to offer a standard interconnection agreement.
The capacity size of the proposed renewable energy project generally determines the interconnection process that the owner or developer will need to navigate. The three possible interconnection processes covered within the standard agreement are summarized in the following table.
|Summarizing the NC Standard Interconnection Process|
|Renewable Energy Facility Capacity||Interconnection Process|
|≤ 10 kW certified inverter-based generating facility||10 kW Inverter Process - Section 2 of standard agreement|
|≤ 2 MW certified generating facility||Fast Track Process – Section 3 of standard agreement|
|> 2 MW or facility does not pass other two above categories||Study Process – Section 4 of standard agreement|
The details of the Commission proceeding on the standard interconnection agreement can be found on the Commission’s website (NCUC Docket No. E-100, Sub 101).
Utility-specific resources can be found by visiting the individual utility’s website.
Other Electric Service Providers
The other electric service providers operating within North Carolina are at various stages with the development of their interconnection agreements. Some providers have a standard agreement and others are in the process of developing an agreement. The requirements of the existing agreements may vary significantly from the standard interconnection agreement offered by the regulated utilities. In the event that a service provider does not currently have an interconnection agreement, the renewable energy developer may need to work with the provider to get an agreement in place.
At this time, NCSEA is aware of at least seven EMCs offering standard interconnection agreements.
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