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PUC Seeks Comments on Connecting Alternative Energy Sources to Electric Grid
Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Press Release, 18 November 2004
HARRISBURG – The state Public Utility Commission (PUC) today started the process for establishing uniform rules on how small power generators - using technologies like fuel cells and microturbines - would connect to the electric distribution grid.
Utility regulators say the technologies, called distributed generation, can improve the reliability and economics of the electric system by reducing demand for power at peak times and by locating power sources closer to customers. Distributed generation is usually located at or near a customer site, giving them more choices for meeting their specific needs. Reducing peak demand lowers the overall cost of electricity, which ultimately benefits all customers.
The PUC said standard interconnection procedures will streamline the regulatory process and encourage manufacturers and developers to enter the market. Several states, including New Jersey, New York and Texas, have adopted interconnection rules, and the PJM Interconnection is in the process of finalizing interconnection technical requirements.
The Commission encourages parties to comment on which model they think would work best in the Commonwealth and on whether Pennsylvania has unique issues that should be addressed. Interested parties will have 60 days to submit comments after the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking has been published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
Earlier this year, the public utility commissions of Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, along with PJM Interconnection, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, established the Mid-Atlantic Distributed Resource Initiative (www.midatlanticcoalition.org). The working group develops regional policies and market-enabling activities to support distributed generation and demand response in the Mid-Atlantic region. Pennsylvania PUC Commissioner Glen R. Thomas serves on the group’s steering committee.
Distributed generation refers to a variety of small power generation technologies such as fuel cells, gas turbines, microturbines, reciprocating engines, photovoltaic cells (solar) and small wind turbines. In addition to producing power, some forms of distributed generation use waste heat for industrial processes, water and space heating, and humidity control to improve indoor air quality and comfort. More information about the technologies can be found at the U.S. Department of Energy at: http://www.eere.energy.gov/de/program_areas/det.shtml.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission ensures safe, reliable and reasonably priced electric, natural gas, water, telephone and transportation service for Pennsylvania consumers, by regulating public utilities and by serving as stewards of competition.
For recent news releases, or more information about the PUC, visit our Internet homepage at www.puc.state.pa.us.
Contact: Eric Levis