Solar and wind developers learn to shift project risk to the grid.
Bruce W. Radford is publisher of Public Utilities Fortnightly.
Much has been written about the so-called chicken-egg problem. That’s where wind and solar developers can’t go forward without transmission expansions built and financed by others, but utilities won’t commit to new grid construction out of fear that the new gen projects won’t show up as promised.
In fact, this quandary supplies a major impetus behind FERC’s proposed new rules for regional transmission planning, still pending at this writing. FERC would attack the problem head-on, requiring planners to honor and accommodate “policy-driven” renewable energy mandates as an engineering imperative, just as they must plan the grid to maintain reliability or reduce congestion. (See Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Docket No. RM10-23, June 17, 2010, 131 FERC ¶61,253.)