The California Independent System Operator (ISO) says it has released an online tool that makes it easier to understand the basics of connecting to the ISO grid.
Before power plant projects can enter the permitting process at the state or local level, developers must enter the ISO interconnection process where they are studied by engineers to determine the cost and timing of any system upgrades that may be needed. Through reforms in the study process, the projects are now grouped in clusters, based on geography, which is standardizing the time it takes for projects to be studied, minimizing redundancy and creating new efficiencies.
Developers of power plants, including wind and solar energy projects, can now use a step-by-step guide to help determine the impacts of hooking up to the high-voltage power grid. The ISO is the first stop for new power plants to access the California grid. Engineering studies are conducted by the ISO on proposed power projects that provide the cost of the transmission needed between a project's location and where it would connect to the ISO grid.
According to the ISO, the online guide includes information regarding interconnection options, a decision-mapping questionnaire to determine if interconnecting makes good business sense and a ‘frequently asked questions’ section to help developers understand the ISO's basic requirements.
‘The ISO is responsible for ensuring that power plants connecting to the grid are reliable and can deliver electricity when and where it is needed,’ says Tom Doughty, the ISO director for customer service and stakeholder affairs. ‘Advancing viable green projects efficiently through the queue will help keep California's 33 percent renewable goal on track for 2020.’