DOE releases plan to ease grid’s renewable backlog

Source: By Christian Robles, E&E News • Posted: Thursday, April 18, 2024

The agency’s first interconnection road map outlines ways to unlock the massive amounts of clean energy waiting to be connected to the grid.

Wind turbines operate near power lines.

Wind turbines spinning next to power lines near Whitewater, California. Mario Tama/Getty Images

The Department of Energy released Wednesday its first-ever plan to address a growing backlog of renewable energy projects looking to connect to the grid.

The Transmission Interconnection Roadmap outlines four 2030 targets to help the country achieve a zero-carbon grid by 2035. They include goals to shorten interconnection queue times, lower interconnection cost variance, increase project completion rates and decrease “disturbance events” that threaten grid reliability.

“Clearing the backlog of nearly 12,000 solar, wind, and storage projects waiting to connect to the grid is essential to deploying clean electricity to more Americans,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a press release on the report, which was developed by DOE’s Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange (i2x) program.

The project backlog amounts to 2,600 gigawatts of power and reflects an eightfold increase in energy capacity looking to come online since 2014, according to a recent report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The DOE road map aims to alleviate that barrier to the Biden administration’s clean electricity goal.