The process for adding power plants to the grid, making sure that the grid operators can factor in the electricity they supply while balancing the back-and-forth of power needs and production, grew over decades to serve the old model of relatively few large plants whose output is predictable.

This doesn’t really work for the energy transition, in which dozens – scores – hundreds! – of small or mid-size solar farms, with their erratic (by utility standards) output, want to connect all at once. Most utilities haven’t figured out how to deal with this, and the result is a massive backlog of connection requests.

New Hampshire Bulletin has a story about the problem, including a smallish farm that has waited two years for an interconnection. The story is here.

Five years ago, Eversource, the state’s largest utility, received about 20 interconnection applications a week, Hinkle said. In 2022 and 2023, that number climbed to 200 a week and, now, sits at around 100.

Ninety-five percent of those projects – typically residential ones under 100 kilowatts – are approved for interconnection by Eversource within a matter of days, Hinkle said. Larger projects – those between 500 kilowatts and 1 megawatt – may take 60 to 90 days for approval, he said.

The largest projects – those over 1 megawatt – often take much longer. Part of the reason, Hinkle said, is because they may trigger a review by ISO New England. He also said moving projects through the queue in a timely manner is a “shared responsibility” between Eversource and developers and that delays from one developer may affect others farther down the waitlist. 

It includes details about legal and legislative maneuvering to tackle the problem.

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