Maria Bries, a Renewable Energy Attorney at McCauley Lyman LLC posted a fantastic breakdown on LinkedIn of just how dramatic the change is in energy sources for the the United States’ energy grid…

A glimpse of what’s to come by 2030! The difference in mix of energy sources from the 1,254 GW currently in operation to the proposed 2,040 GW in queue is striking. A shifting resource mix to renewables and energy storage is prompting FERC to update its transmission policies.

Last Thursday, FERC approved RM22-14 (Order 2023) reforming interconnection rules to speed-up study processes for the first time in 20 years.

The new rule, however, is only one of several reforms under review by FERC, which includes transmission planning, cost-sharing, siting authority and implementing non-wires alternatives. In a letter to FERC on July 20, Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer, urged FERC to finalize rules in all of these critical transmission areas.

“Our transmission policies must keep pace with the rapid changes in the makeup of our nation’s power generation resource mix,” Chairman Willie Phillips said in a news release on RM22-14. “Today’s rule is an important milestone. But there is so much more to do. The Commission is working diligently on how to address the key issues of regional transmission planning and cost allocation. We need to take a longer-term, forward-looking approach to planning for essential transmission facilities and to allocate the costs of those facilities in a just and reasonable manner while enhancing the reliability and resilience of the grid.”

Indeed, dramatic increases in cost of interconnection upgrades (between 200-400%) are eliminating otherwise viable projects from the queue that could continue if dynamic line ratings (DLRs) from LineVision were used instead to increase existing line capacity. Upgrade costs: DLRs:

Jeff St. John of Canary Media Inc. reports that FERC Order 2003 allowed grid operators to hold project developers responsible for the full costs of grid upgrades (a “participant funding” system). For thermal plants that have more flexibility to be sited near load, this policy made sense. However, wind and solar projects, tend to be located much farther from the load they serve.

See more on excessive upgrade costs:

In addition, a shared savings model proposed by the WATT Coalition and performance-based ratemaking were mentioned by FERC Commissioner Clements in a recent meeting of the Joint Federal-State Task Force on Electric Transmission for incentivizing GETs.

Meanwhile, PJM delayed its capacity auction to June 2024 in anticipation of capacity market design reforms expected to be filed by October 1, 2023. See PJM Capacity Market Forum recording:

The New York Times reports: Some developers will submit multiple proposals for wind and solar farms at different locations without intending to build them all. Instead, they hope that one of their proposals will come after another developer who has to pay for major network upgrades. The rise of this sort of speculative bidding has further jammed up the queue.

“Imagine if we paid for highways this way,” said Rob Gramlich, president of the consulting group Grid Strategies LLC. “If a highway is fully congested, the next car that gets on has to pay for a whole lane expansion. When that driver sees the bill, they drop off. Or, if they do pay for it themselves, everyone else gets to use that infrastructure. It doesn’t make any sense.”