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Commission Watch

Feds seek plug-and-play for distributed generation, but utilities want the power to stay local.
Fortnightly Magazine - November 15 2003

do not meet the basic prerequisites to receive a 'network' type of service. Small generators almost universally interconnect to either distribution or subtransmission facilities that are not 'networked' but are radial in nature."

That leaves it to National Grid, an international company known for managing transmission assets, and presumably a company that is reasonably comfortable with SMD concepts, to suggest an honorable exit for FERC. In an ironic twist, National Grid urges FERC to "decentralize" the process by taking the RTOs out of the process and leaving the details of DG to the local utilities.

"One potential solution," the company offers, "is to dispense with the concept of 'transmission provider' and allow the individual owners of transmission and distribution to administer the interconnection of small generators...

"Today, small generator interconnection requests are administered by individual distribution companies, who are best attuned to the needs of their delivery systems...

"Those ISOs and RTOs that exist today are really set up to operate only the bulk power grid and have little or no expertise in dealing with lower voltage facilities that may be involved in small generator interconnection."

With SMD all but dead, and Congress openly skeptical of any more reliance on RTOs, the counterproposal from National Grid to take DG out of FERC's control and send it back to the local utility would leave the commission with yet another feather plucked from its cap.


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