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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Report: VA grid manager needs better interconnection process

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Monday, March 4, 2024   

Virginia's electrical grid manager ranked poorly in a new energy scorecard.

Advanced Energy United's Generator Interconnection Scorecard gave PJM Interconnections a "D-," the lowest grade of all grid managers studied. A lone bright spot in the breakdown of PJM's score was the "C" the company received for how well it provides information about the interconnection process.

Jon Gordon, policy director for Advanced Energy United, attributed the poor ranking to a single root cause.

"The big problem at PJM is this big backlog getting projects interconnected to the grid," Gordon explained. "There was such a long wait to sort of process these interconnection requests that they actually had to pause the queue, put a moratorium on new requests."

He noted the boom of renewable electricity projects led to more interconnection requests. Virginia's General Assembly passed legislation to make the process more efficient. House Bill 862 requires electric utilities in the state to consider grid-enhancing technologies, technological upgrades which could add up to 40% of additional capacity to the current grid and save the state congestion costs.

The report noted reducing the backlog is the crux of PJM's problems but not a silver bullet. Other areas the report measured included its use of interconnection alternatives and how the company uses regional planning availability. Gordon broke down some other problem areas identified in the report.

"They got an F in this interconnection study process design and, again, that was that serial process they used for way too long," Gordon pointed out. "And then the way they actually conduct the studies themselves, they got another really low grade, lower than just about everyone else, and that kind of dragged their average down quite a bit."

Gordon recommended studying the best practices of other grid managers to help PJM figure out how to create a better request process. Gordon thinks automation using artificial intelligence could help too. He noted it is hard to improve the process while PJM is working through its backlog at the same time.


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