DE applications do not have to be connected to the power grid, but in regions where a grid exisits the optimum situation is to connect a a DE system to the local network. In many areas of the world the inability to easily connect a DE installation to the exisiting grid is a major inhibitor of the DE market.

There are some genuine concerns related to having DE projects interconnect to the grid which must be dealt with prior to allowing interconnection but it is important to distinguish between genuine issues and issue that are raised strategically, often exaggerated, in an effort to block DE.

The issues typically raised as concerns when DE units apply for interconnection include:

  • safety/islanding
  • fault/current control
  • ‘dispatchability’/intermittancy
  • inability to dependably measure bidirectional transfer
  • etc

Although the above should certainly be considered for any generator- central or decentral- an unfair burden should not be placed on DE generators to address the concerns.

The main problem is that there are no consistent standards for interconnecting DE units between or even within most jurisdictions. In some cases even a single utility will have multiple interconnection policies depending on the scale of technology, customer size etc. In short much confusion surrounds the interconnection process and legal status of small generators connecting to the grid in most jurisdictions. Interconnection should be a fast and straight forward process- especially for smaller units; as easy as connecting a new load.

In many jurisdictions around the world there are efforts under way to standardize interconnection procedures and simplify applications, especially for smaller scale DE projects. The results of this work should greatly reduce the barriers to entry for DE in the regions where the work is carried out. Nevertheless in many regions acceptable standards are still lacking and WADE is working to promote the establishment of such standards around the world.