FERC Issues Order No. 2023, Making Meaningful Improvements to the Interconnection Process

On July 28, 2023, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or the Commission) issued Order No. 2023 requiring all public utility transmission providers to adopt reforms to FERC’s pro forma generator interconnection procedures and agreements to address interconnection queue backlogs and prevent undue discrimination for new technologies.

In what FERC Chairman Willie Phillips referred to as “a watershed moment for our nation’s transmission grid,” the new rule includes several areas of reform. Order No. 2023 builds off FERC’s June 2022 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR), in large part adopting the NOPR but deviating in several key areas after receiving approximately 4,500 pages of comments that helped to inform FERC’s decision. Reforms in Order 2023 include:

  • Implementing a first-ready, first-served cluster study process, where transmission providers will conduct cluster interconnection studies encompassing numerous proposed generating facilities, rather than separate studies for each individual generating facility.
  • Speeding up interconnection queue processing by imposing firm deadlines with penalties if transmission providers fail to complete interconnection studies on time.
  • Requiring transmission providers to allow more than one generating facility to co-locate on a shared site behind a single point of interconnection and share a single interconnection.
  • Under certain conditions, allowing interconnection customers to add a generating facility to an existing interconnection request without such request being considered a material modification.
  • Developing a withdrawal penalty framework for developers that withdraw their projects from the interconnection queue.
  • Requiring transmission providers to evaluate alternative transmission technologies in their cluster studies.

The final rule becomes effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. The Commission requires transmission providers to make compliance filings to revise their tariffs to reflect the new rules within 90 calendar days of the publication of Order No. 2023 in the Federal Register, rather than the 180-day compliance period included in the June 2022 NOPR.

For more information regarding Order No. 2023, please see Pierce Atwood’s more in-depth article in its Energy Infrastructure Blog. For any other questions regarding distributed generation, energy storage systems, or any other energy-related matter, please contact Jared des Rosiers, Valerie Green, Nicholas Salalayko or any member of Pierce Atwood’s Energy Practice Group.