FERC says 1,700 GW of US renewables still awaiting interconnection


From pv magazine USA

“An unprecedented number” of interconnection requests last year from utility-scale renewables and storage projects “continue to prolong interconnection queue backlogs,” FERC says in a recent report.

Drawing on preliminary data compiled by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, FERC says that about 1,730 GW of utility-scale solar, wind and storage projects are now active in the interconnection queues of transmission system operators. That’s almost 400 GW more than the approximately 1,350 GW reported by Berkeley Lab at the end of 2021.

Solar, wind and storage projects in the interconnection queues make up nearly 94% of the total capacity in the queues, with solar constituting over half of that amount, the report said.

Total capacity in the queues exceeds 1,366 GW of generation, 325 GW of standalone storage, and 159 GW of hybrid storage and generation capacity. Those values including 84 GW of natural gas and 2 GW of coal capacity.

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has estimated that 24% of the projects seeking interconnection from 2000 to 2020 have subsequently been built, the report said. The PJM grid operator, which serves a larger population than any other grid operator, has projected that 5% of the projects now in its interconnection queue will be built.

The FERC staff report said the costs to interconnect “have grown substantially over time with the cost of broader network upgrades driving nearly all this growth,” and provided the nearby graph from Berkeley Lab. Interconnection costs for solar, wind and storage are higher than for natural gas, the report added.

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