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Commissioner John R. Norris Statement
January 17, 2013
Docket Nos. RM13-2-000
Item No. E-1

FERC Proposed Reforms for Small Generator Interconnections

“I want to thank the team for their great work in drafting today’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR). I also want to thank the solar industry for bringing to our attention potential reforms to the Commission’s small generator interconnection regulations.

“It really is exciting to see how many entities are interested in the business of smaller scale electric power generation. I believe more participants in the energy industry means more people involved in helping solve our nation’s energy challenges. I also view as positive the fact that many of these new participants are seeking to use carbon-free resources like solar PV and wind to meet to our energy needs and diversify the country’s generation mix.

“More than seven years have passed since the Commission issued its rulemaking establishing our small generator interconnection regulations in 2005. At the time, I believe the Commission had an eye towards the future. The Commission also recognized that the regulations would serve as a model for state interconnection rules at the distribution level. In the intervening years, we have gained experience in implementing the small generator interconnection regulations and what we have learned from that experience enables us to take another, incremental step forward by streamlining, where possible, the interconnection study process.

“We are also responding through this NOPR to changes on the electric power system as it continues to evolve. State and local policies are encouraging more local and renewable forms of generation. This policy trend has coincided with dramatic cost reductions that the solar industry has achieved. The result is we are seeing an exponential increase, albeit from a small base, in the amount of solar generation on the grid.

“In sum, I believe we have made great progress since 2005 in enabling solar and other forms of distributed generation to interconnect to the grid, but we can and should accommodate more through reforms such as those proposed in today’s NOPR.”