The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released a draft roadmap to address interconnection challenges on the transmission grid and seeks feedback from the public before releasing a final version. DOE convened a broad group of clean energy stakeholders through its Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange (i2X) to develop the roadmap, which is intended to serve as a practical guide for implementing near- and long-term solutions to interconnect clean energy sources and to clear the existing backlog of solar, wind and battery projects seeking to get built. The country will need to dramatically expand the deployment of solar and wind energy resources to meet the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of a decarbonized electricity sector by 2035. However, increased incentives and growing demand for renewable energy has exacerbated long wait times for the clean energy projects seeking to connect to the grid. Creating more efficient, transparent and equitable interconnection processes will cut costs and boost clean energy development across the country.
“At the end of 2022, there were more than 2,000 GW of solar, wind and storage capacity sitting in transmission interconnection queues. Rapidly deploying the clean energy needed to meet our climate goals will require an overhaul of current rules, costs, and procedures for connecting to the grid,” said Jeff Marootian, principal deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy. “DOE’s i2X initiative has engaged a broad coalition of partners to develop and implement practical, realistic solutions to these challenges over the next five years and beyond.”
New clean energy projects are subject to complicated approval processes before they come online. The high volume of projects seeking interconnection has led to uncertainties, delays, inequities and added costs for developers, consumers, utilities and their regulators.
The i2X draft roadmap provides decision makers with a set of pathways organized around four goals to rapidly, equitably, and reliably deploy clean energy resources:
- Increase data access and transparency,
- Improve process and timing,
- Promote economic efficiency, and
- Maintain a reliable grid.
i2X launched in June 2022 with funding from the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to enable simpler, faster and fairer interconnection of clean energy resources while enhancing the reliability, resilience and security of the electric grid. Since the launch, DOE has convened more than 2,000 stakeholders in a series of 22 virtual public meetings that covered key issues, including cost allocation, queue management, data transparency, equity and energy justice, workforce, grid engineering practices and EV charging.
DOE today released a request for information (RFI) to solicit input from interconnection stakeholders on the challenges and solution sets outlined in the roadmap. Grid operators, utilities, state and local governments, Tribal governments and utilities, clean energy developers, energy justice organizations, nonprofits, trade associations and other i2X stakeholders are encouraged to provide feedback. Responses are due by November 22, 2023.
DOE expects to finalize the transmission roadmap and release a draft second volume that focuses on the distribution grid in the coming months.
i2X is an initiative of DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office and Wind Energy Technology Office.
News item from DOE