WASHINGTON — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has established a new rule for connecting larger electrical generators to the power grid and announced a proposed rule that applies to smaller generators.

Although the new standard applies to generators larger than 20 MW in capacity, the proposed grid-connection rule for smaller generators includes small- to medium-sized solar power systems, wind power systems, microturbines, fuel cells, and other small generator systems. Both rules include standard interconnection procedures and standard agreements to be signed by the utility and the party generating the power.

FERC Chairman Pat Wood III stated, "Adequate infrastructure, balanced market rules, and vigilant market oversight are critical to fully competitive energy markets. Interconnection is a critical factor for open access transmission service and its standardization will encourage needed investment in new infrastructure. As the electric power industry continues the transition to a more competitive marketplace, the commission is intent on having clear rules of the road in place that will bring lower-cost, reliable energy supplies to the nation's energy customers."

Comments on the proposed small generator rule are due by early September. Links to fact sheets on both of the rules, as well as links to the FERC orders themselves, are available at www.ferc.gov/Electric/gen_inter.htm.

Publication date: 08/11/2003