Amid Delays, Calif. Lawmakers Advance Bills to Speed Grid Connections

"The state has ambitious goals to switch to electric vehicles and add clean energy to its grid, but some say it's contending with an “interconnection crisis.’’"

"Several months ago, the architect Eric Morrill received an email from a San Francisco couple looking to install an induction range. They were having a baby and wanted to get rid of their gas model and its noxious fumes. Complicating the project, their single-family home had a pre-1970 electrical panel that would have to be upgraded.

These days in California, a project like this—pulling out an electric panel, adding one that can handle more electrical appliances, and, in some cases, upgrading utility lines to accommodate them—can involve a months-long wait for the local utility to approve and complete the work. So Morrill’s design and construction firm, which focuses on electrifying and decarbonizing homes, has devised workarounds to move forward while that process plays out.

A couple of months after the request, the new stove and the beginnings of the new electric panel were installed and connected. Morrill still hasn’t heard from the utility on the necessary paperwork, though.

When it goes smoothly, connecting new homes, energy projects and electric appliances to California’s grid—known as interconnection or energization, depending on the project—is a formulaic process that doesn’t draw a lot of attention outside the energy and utility industry. But over the last year, the delays have drawn intense scrutiny from California housing advocates, builders, city governments and environmentalists."

Emma Foehringer Merchant reports for Inside Climate News June 19, 2023.


Source: Inside Climate News, 06/21/2023