Renewables dominate 95% of US interconnection queues amid backlog increase
POWER & RENEWABLE ENERGY

Renewables dominate 95% of US interconnection queues amid backlog increase

There are nearly 12,000 power projects in the US seeking grid connection, with an overwhelming majority of them based on renewable sources. The combined capacity of these projects is 1,570 GW, with an additional 1,030 GW for storage. It was reported that renewable sources make up 95% of the total capacity in the active queue, and approximately 94% (about 1,480 GW) of the proposed generation capacity is zero-carbon, as per a recent Berkeley Lab report.

Utilities and regional grid operators require projects seeking grid connection to undergo a series of assessments before construction begins. These assessments determine if new grid system enhancements are necessary for a project to integrate into the system, estimating and allocating the associated equipment costs. The lists of projects applying for grid connection and undergoing evaluation are referred to as "interconnection queues."

Despite ongoing interest from developers in solar, storage, and wind energy, completion rates for these projects remain low, leading to longer wait times. Only around 19% of projects (equivalent to 14% of total capacity) that requested interconnection between 2000 and 2018 were operational by the end of 2023.

Completion rates are particularly low for solar (14%) and battery (11%) projects. The average time projects spend in the queue before becoming operational has significantly increased. In 2023, an average project took nearly five years from the interconnection request to commercial operations, compared to three years in 2015 and less than two years in 2008.

The proposed capacity is spread across the US, with solar capacity proposed in most regions, totalling over 1 TW in active queues. Additionally, there is over 1 TW of storage capacity in the queues, mainly concentrated in the Western region and California Independent System Operator (CAISO), but also present in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISOM), and Pennsylvania-Jersey-Maryland Interconnection (PJM). Wind capacity accounts for over 360 GW in the queues, with the majority located in the non-ISO West, New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) (offshore), PJM, and Southwest Power Pool (SPP) regions.

Collectively, solar (1,086 GW), storage (1,028 GW), and wind (366 GW) represent 95% of the total active capacity in the queues. Most of the solar and storage capacity is part of hybrid power projects.

There are nearly 12,000 power projects in the US seeking grid connection, with an overwhelming majority of them based on renewable sources. The combined capacity of these projects is 1,570 GW, with an additional 1,030 GW for storage. It was reported that renewable sources make up 95% of the total capacity in the active queue, and approximately 94% (about 1,480 GW) of the proposed generation capacity is zero-carbon, as per a recent Berkeley Lab report. Utilities and regional grid operators require projects seeking grid connection to undergo a series of assessments before construction begins. These assessments determine if new grid system enhancements are necessary for a project to integrate into the system, estimating and allocating the associated equipment costs. The lists of projects applying for grid connection and undergoing evaluation are referred to as interconnection queues. Despite ongoing interest from developers in solar, storage, and wind energy, completion rates for these projects remain low, leading to longer wait times. Only around 19% of projects (equivalent to 14% of total capacity) that requested interconnection between 2000 and 2018 were operational by the end of 2023. Completion rates are particularly low for solar (14%) and battery (11%) projects. The average time projects spend in the queue before becoming operational has significantly increased. In 2023, an average project took nearly five years from the interconnection request to commercial operations, compared to three years in 2015 and less than two years in 2008. The proposed capacity is spread across the US, with solar capacity proposed in most regions, totalling over 1 TW in active queues. Additionally, there is over 1 TW of storage capacity in the queues, mainly concentrated in the Western region and California Independent System Operator (CAISO), but also present in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISOM), and Pennsylvania-Jersey-Maryland Interconnection (PJM). Wind capacity accounts for over 360 GW in the queues, with the majority located in the non-ISO West, New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) (offshore), PJM, and Southwest Power Pool (SPP) regions. Collectively, solar (1,086 GW), storage (1,028 GW), and wind (366 GW) represent 95% of the total active capacity in the queues. Most of the solar and storage capacity is part of hybrid power projects.

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