DOE creates working group to solve clean energy interconnection backlog

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has launched the Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange — a new partnership funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that brings together grid operators, utilities, state and tribal governments, clean energy developers, energy justice organizations and other stakeholders to help solve challenges to deploying clean energy resources to the electricity grid. As the Biden Administration ramps up expansion of new renewable energy to reach the nation’s goal of a net-zero economy by 2050, i2X partners will develop solutions for faster, simpler, and fairer interconnection of clean energy resources through better data, roadmap development and technical assistance.

“We need to eliminate the gridlock that’s slowing down clean energy deployment so that we can give more Americans access to cheaper electricity,” said US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. “Thanks to funding from the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the new Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange will help build a coalition of problem solvers that are leveraging expertise from utility and community stakeholders along with DOE’s national laboratories to tackle interconnection issues, ensure grid reliability and develop equitable solutions for all communities.”

DOE’s recent Solar Futures Study shows that both solar and wind energy resources will need to expand dramatically to meet the Administration’s goals. However, current rules, costs and procedures for connecting to the grid cannot handle the rapid increase in clean energy projects and require more efficient processes to bring the projects online.

Furthermore, the interconnection queue waiting times for the number of clean energy generation and storage projects slated to be added on to the grid is growing, as demand for renewable electricity accelerates faster than ever. And with the clean energy investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, even more clean energy sources will join the queue for grid integration.

The i2X program aims to solve these challenges by addressing the core issues surrounding grid interconnection, such as a lack of data, shortage of human resources, and more complicated grid impact assessments. The i2X program will provide technical assistance to partners to develop solutions to specific regional, state, and local interconnection issues. i2X partners will also address the inequities caused by burdensome interconnection processes in alignment with the Administration’s Justice40 initiative

Collaborating with participating i2X organizations, experts from DOE’s Solar Energy and Wind Energy Technologies Offices and the national labs will develop a five-year roadmap that sets goals and identifies research gaps and benchmarks for success.

DOE will kick off the partnership on June 7 at a virtual event with Secretary Granholm

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