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Speeding up wind plant connection

Wind projects in New York should find it easier to connect to the wires after the state's Independent System Operator (ISO) announced an accelerated path for projects completing a transmission impact study. The ISO will allow projects to proceed with interconnection before the completion of transmission system upgrades and allocation of costs shared between multiple users.

When a system reliability impact study (SRIS) shows little or no system upgrade is required for a project, the ISO will allow wind farm construction and operation without requiring other parties to evaluate cost allocation. "Wind projects have had a lot of problems connecting in New York," says Rob Gramlich of the American Wind Energy Association. "The ISO has missed some deadlines and transmission owners have been kind of slow."

Gramlich acknowledges the complexities of trying to connect more than 4000 MW of new electricity in New York. "That's a lot to deal with at one time," he says, noting there will be no actual change in the standard rules already issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. "But a big part of the problem has been that if the ISO doesn't meet a deadline there's nothing anyone could do. This is a commitment from the ISO to get the process back on track," he says.

Going forward without a completed SRIS does not excuse projects from their share of system upgrade costs, but limited operation of the wind farm in advance of completion of the upgrades can be allowed. "Policy makers in New York have portfolio standards goals to meet," says Gramlich, referring to government set minimum standards for the volume of green power in electricity supply portfolios. "They don't want to see those goals not achieved because of bottlenecks and now it's up to the transmission providers to follow through," he adds.

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