With the growing concerns of carbon emissions, rising cost of energy, and the decreasing costs of renewable energy, we are starting to see more and more distributed generation installations emerge across the country. Under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, one of the three primary focuses is “Deploying Clean Energy” – particularly “Promoting American Leadership in Renewable Energy.” During Obama’s first term and his first climate plan, the United States more than doubled generation of electricity from wind, solar, and geothermal sources, and Obama plans to “double-down” on this once again, with the goal to double renewable electricity generation by 2020.
As we continue to “double down” on renewable energy, utilities will experience a spike in the number of distributed generation installations. Each installation must go through an enrollment and approval process for interconnection and net metering. These approval processes have state-mandated time requirements that require processing in a given time period. It is important for utilities to evaluate their current processes and understand the current capacity for processing applications. If there is a significant increase, will the utilities be able to keep up with the growing demand while still remaining compliant with these state regulations?
It’s time for utilities to make changes in their processes and migrate away from paper processing to electronic application processing. This will allow for utilities to process a larger number of applications during the same period while also providing a database to track the installed distributed generation on the electric grid. By tracking the distributed generation installations, utilities will have the ability to complete reporting and improve their forecasting ability by tracking the size of installations and expected power generation on a given day. This is the energy of the future.