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NYSEIA Comments in Response to National Grid Interconnection Cost Allocation Petition

March 25, 2024

On Monday, March 25, 2024, NYSEIA and the Clean Energy Parties submitted comments in response to National Grid’s petition for a declaratory ruling regarding interconnection cost allocation and retroactive scope & budget modifications for distributed generators with signed interconnection agreements. National Grid's petition, which was the result of the utility's erroneous grid impact studies, requested that the Commission affirm New York utilities' rights to impose uncapped retroactive scope and budget modification on interconnection customer at any time through a system's installation and commissioning.

NYSEIA believes that, if granted, National Grid’s petition would fundamentally undermine New York’s interconnection process. NYSEIA drafted comments in response to National Grid’s petition with significant input from members, impacted developers, and outside regulatory counsel. We submitted our comments jointly with five other clean energy trade associations, collectively the Clean Energy Parties (CEP). The CEP comments were submitted jointly by NYSEIA, New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-BEST), Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACE NY), Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA), Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), and Advanced Energy United (AEU). 

The CEP comments assert that National Grid's erroneous grid impact studies, which were disclosed in mid 2023 and which have since caused significant delays and financial harm to dozens of community solar projects in Western NY, are the root cause of the issue that prompted National Grid's petition. The CEP comments conclude that:

Maintaining a competitive energy market and achieving New York State’s ambitious clean energy goals requires a fair, transparent and reliable interconnection process that adequately protects interconnecting customers from risk caused by utility errors and omissions. National Grid’s inaccurate interconnection studies have caused material financial harm to interconnection customers, and National Grid’s requested ruling would undermine New York’s interconnection process. The CEP strongly oppose National Grid’s request for a Declaratory Ruling.

The CEP urge the Commission to reject the petition, and to issue an Order that:

a) definitively establishes a fair, near-term resolution for the 45 impacted projects that received Additional Upgrade Disclosures by:

  1. directing National Grid to release full re-study results to impacted interconnection customers and DPS staff within five (5) business days;

  2. directing National Grid to complete the construction of all additional Distribution Upgrades required to safely interconnect the impacted projects within twelve (12) months, and within six (6) months for solar projects that are partially or fully constructed;

  3. capping the costs for the 45 interconnection customers that received Additional Upgrade Disclosures at 115% of the cost estimate included in National Grid’s original CESIR results provided prior to the execution of Interconnection Agreements, with any balance paid for by National Grid. National Grid’s contributions toward these additional Distribution Upgrades should not count toward the utility’s annual cost-sharing cap, and National Grid’s ability to recover these costs from ratepayers should depend upon the Commission’s determination of whether the additional upgrades could have reasonably been detected and disclosed by National Grid at the time the CESIRs were completed; and

  4. directing National Grid to create a list of encumbered substations that are affected by this issue or that cannot economically accommodate additional DER capacity, thereby providing greater transparency to DER developers; and

b) directs DPS staff to confer with stakeholders and file an interconnection cost envelope proposal within 120 days. Such an order would demonstrate New York’s commitment to a fair and transparent interconnection process, affirm the value of signed Interconnection Agreements to financiers, and support continued progress toward New York’s ambitious clean energy goals.

The Clean Energy Parties' full comments can be accessed by clicking "READ MORE" below

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