The California Independent System Operator Corp. offers an online tool to make it easier to understand the basics of connecting to the ISO grid. Developers of power plants, including wind and solar energy projects, can now use a step-by-step guide to help determine the impacts of hooking up to the high-voltage power grid. The ISO is the first stop for new power plants to access the California grid. Engineering studies are conducted by the ISO on proposed power projects that provide the cost of the transmission needed between project location and where they connect to the ISO grid. The simple online guide includes:

  • Interconnection options and FAQs to help developers understand the basic requirements
  • Decision mapping questionnaire to determine if interconnecting makes good business sense
  • “Welcome to the ISO” training available to prospective energy developers
  • Applications, forms and agreements for participants with projects currently in the interconnection study queue or who are considering applying to enter the interconnection queue.

“The ISO is responsible for ensuring that power plants connecting to the grid are reliable and can deliver electricity when and where it is needed,” said ISO Director, Customer Service and Stakeholder Affairs Tom Doughty. “Advancing viable green projects efficiently through the queue will help keep California’s 33% renewable goal on track for 2020.”

Before power plant projects can enter the permitting process at the state or local level, they must enter the ISO interconnection process where they are studied by engineers to determine the cost and timing of any system upgrades that may be needed. Through reforms in the study process, the projects are now grouped in clusters, based on geography, which is standardizing the time it takes for projects to be studied, minimizing redundancy and creating new efficiencies.