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Overcoming interconnection hurdles will require creativity, understanding

Becca Jones-Albertus, director of the Solar Energy Technologies Office at the U.S. Dept. of Energy, will deliver the keynote address at the GridTECH Connect Forum in San Diego, Calif. on Feb. 6.
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Becca Jones-Albertus doesn't have a problem addressing the elephant in the room.

Any conversation about the myriad of challenges associated with connecting new clean energy projects to the grid has to address an unfortunate truth: the relationship between electric utilities and developers is perhaps as strained as the grid itself. And rarely do the sides engage in a proactive and productive way.

As the director of the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Jones-Albertus sees firsthand the scale of the challenge to broker cooperation between the two sides. But she remains confident that creative solutions can be found if these key stakeholders can find a way to work together.

That's the message Jones-Albertus will share in her keynote address at the GridTECH Connect Forum in San Diego, California on Feb. 6. The event brings together California utilities, developers, and regulators to foster critical conversations about improving distributed energy resource interconnection.

Becca Jones-Albertus, director of the Solar Energy Technologies Office at the U.S. Dept. of Energy.

“In order to meet the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of a decarbonized electricity system by 2035, we need to deploy more clean energy to the grid as quickly and reliably as possible," Jones-Albertus said in an interview with Renewable Energy World. "However, current procedures for connecting to the grid are not equipped to handle the rapid increase in clean energy projects needed to meet our climate goals."

The GridTECH Connect Forum conference program features content tailored for the California market, including opportunities for collaboration between utilities and developers, fleet electrification, vehicle-to-grid integration, demand response, and more.

Registration is open, but limited. Secure your spot today.

"We're not in this situation because any one party is trying to be challenging or difficult," Jones-Albertus said. "We really do think we can get to a goal of faster, simpler, fairer processes, but only by bringing these different stakeholder groups with their diverse and different goals together."

GridTECH Connect Forum will also feature the work of the Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange (i2X) initiative as part of a partnership with DOE.

A panel session on DER hosting capacity and impact analysis, as well as a technical interconnection boot camp, will both be led by the agency. Attendees of both GridTECH Connect Forum and DISTRIBUTECH International can register to attend the complimentary boot camp here.

The boot camp will use a set of open-source and commercial software tools to show the value of good data, analysis methods, and automation in the study of DER hosting capacity and impacts.

Laurence Abcede, manager of distributed energy resources at San Diego Gas & Electric, and CJ Colavito, vice president of engineering at Standard Solar, joined Episode 23 of the Factor This! podcast to discuss their roles in developing the GridTECH Connect Forum— a new event that's bringing together utilities and developers to improve interconnection. Request to attend the inaugural event in San Diego, California on Feb. 6, 2023.

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