The U.S. government has launched the Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange (i2X) initiative through its Department of Energy (DoE) to connect more green energy to the country’s grid.
The initiative will reduce the waiting period for clean energy sources in interconnection queues while lowering the grid connection rates. The participants in the program will work towards developing solutions for faster, simpler, and fairer interconnection of clean energy resources through better data, roadmap development, and technical assistance.
i2X was launched through a partnership between DoE and the government, funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Experts from DOE’s solar and wind energy technology centers and national labs will collaborate with participating i2X organizations to develop a 5-year roadmap under the program to identify research gaps and benchmarks for grid interconnection.
The i2X program is likely to be a potential tool for the Biden administration in stabilizing the ever-expanding renewable capacity in the country while unwinding a plethora of options for the sector to reach the President’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035.
A recent study by the DoE revealed that solar and wind resources in the U.S. will need rapid expansion to meet Biden’s goals. However, current rules, costs, and procedures for connecting to the grid cannot handle the rapid increase in clean energy projects. Moreover, the interconnection queue waiting times for the number of clean energy generation and storage projects slated to be added to the grid are growing as the demand for renewable electricity rises.
The partners in the i2X initiative will address the inequities caused by burdensome interconnection processes in alignment with the Administration’s Justice40 program.
The U.S. Secretary of Energy, Jennifer M. Granholm, said, “Funding in the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help DoE and our national labs build a coalition of problem solvers to tackle interconnection issues, ensure grid reliability, and develop equitable solutions for all communities. Eliminating the gridlock that is slowing down clean energy deployment is critical to increasing access to cheaper electricity for American families and businesses.”
Earlier this month, the DoE issued a Request for Information to collect public response on the $2.5 billion Transmission Facilitation Program structure, which is one of the first down payments on over $20 billion of investments under the Building a Better Grid Initiative announced last April.
The DoE also announced $3.16 billion in funding from President’s Bipartisan Law to expand domestic battery manufacturing and bolster domestic supply chains while creating more jobs.