The Biden Administration through the U.S. Department of Energy launched the Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange (i2X) — a new partnership funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that brings together grid operators, utilities, state and tribal governments, clean energy developers, energy justice organizations, and other stakeholders to connect more clean energy to America’s power grid by solving challenges facing the power industry. The partnership will help reduce wait times for clean energy sources in interconnection queues and lower costs to connect to the grid. As the Biden Administration ramps up expansion of new renewable energy to reach the President’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035, i2X partners will develop solutions for faster, simpler, and fairer interconnection of clean energy resources through better data, roadmap development, and technical assistance.
“Eliminating the gridlock that’s slowing down clean energy deployment is critical to increasing access to cheaper electricity for American families and businesses,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “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.”
DOE’s recent Solar Futures Study shows that both solar and wind energy resources will need to dramatically expand to meet the Administration’s goals. However, current rules, costs, and procedures for connecting to the grid cannot handle the rapid increase in clean energy projects and require more efficient processes to bring the projects online.
Furthermore, the interconnection queue waiting times for the number of clean energy generation and storage projects slated to be added on to the grid is growing, as demand for renewable electricity accelerates faster than ever. And with the clean energy investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, even more clean energy sources will join the queue for grid integration.
The i2X program aims to solve these challenges by addressing the core issues surrounding grid interconnection, such as a lack of data, shortage of human resources, and more complicated grid impact assessments. The i2X program will provide technical assistance to partners to develop solutions to specific regional, state, and local interconnection issues, helping connect more clean energy to the grid and lowering costs for consumer and families. i2X partners will also address the inequities caused by burdensome interconnection processes in alignment with the Administration’s Justice40 initiative.
Collaborating with participating i2X organizations, experts from DOE’s Solar Energy and Wind Energy Technologies Offices and DOE’s National Labs will develop a 5-year roadmap that sets goals and identifies research gaps and benchmarks for success.
DOE will kick off the partnership on June 7 at a virtual event with Secretary Granholm.