Site Assessment and Interconnection Support for Utility-Scale Renewable Energy Project
A Maryland-based developer of renewable energy projects was developing a solar generation project and contacted EN Engineering to assess the project site and provide interconnection support. The project team had to determine the project’s optimal size, identify possible points of interconnection to the transmission grid, assess the project’s impact on the transmission system, estimate interconnection and system improvement costs, and assist in producing the designs, transmission system studies, calculations, and documentation required to determine the project’s viability.
The team encountered difficulties obtaining information on the progress of a previously-filed project in the vicinity which would impact capacity. They searched records of public projects at the local and state levels and discovered that the other project failed to secure environmental permits and withdrew. In addition, the client had less than five days left on the Independent System Operator’s schedule to file the application, requiring the EN Engineering team to work extended hours and capitalize on previous experience to produce a deficiency-free application in three days.
The EN Engineering team researched multiple sources to determine available Points of Interconnection (POI) options available for the utility-scale solar energy project site and investigated the suitability of each identified POI for the size of the project being proposed. They also researched other proposed generation projects in the same geographical area and potential issues that could impact the project. The team’s extensive knowledge of the various local, state, federal, and regional agencies enabled them to efficiently research and identify proposed projects. The project team filed deficiency-free applications to determine the ISO class and met strict deadlines for ISO class closing dates, using their extensive experience assembling filing packages and flexibility in scheduling the work hours.
EN Engineering modeled the transmission system at the desired size and connected at the POIs. They identified the optimum size from a system improvement perspective and estimated costs. Based on the client’s direction, they prepared and produced all documentation, calculations, studies and drawings required to file the interconnection application. In addition, they reviewed feasibility, system impact and facilities study reports and conducted load-flow studies to verify the accuracy of the ISO studies.
EN Engineering identified an incorrectly assigned improvement charge in the ISO-generated studies that would have cost the client $22M in interconnection fees. In addition, the client was able to save time and effort by focusing on those sites where interconnection costs made the projects economically viable.