About this course

Launching June 2024
This course will be submitted to IEEE for qualifying for CEUs.
 

For those without a working knowledge of transmission systems, it is strongly recommended to first take the "Introduction to Transmission Systems" course.  If you are interested in both courses,  you can purchase the Electric Transmission and Solar PV Interconnection Bundle for a discounted-price.  Either course may also be taken separately.

Why Take This Course 
Finding concise and timely training and resources on solar PV interconnection to transmission is typically difficult and very time-consuming. The topic is quite broad, covering transmission systems and electric power equipment, transmission operators interconnection procedures and requirements, specialized system studies, and solar PV interconnection equipment and control. In addition, the technology and the processes are constantly changing.

The aim of this course is to boil down the most important concepts to a level where everyone can get an understanding of the very involved and complex task of interconnecting solar PV to transmission systems. 

It also covers the very-involved and often difficult-to-understand generator interconnection requirements, processes, and terminology of transmission operators.

This course explains the role of FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) and NERC (North America Electric Reliability Corporation) in most transmission interconnections. Content is also provided around the typical interconnection processes of transmission operators like ISO's/RTO's, including the submittal of project data and information, transmission system operator technical studies and results, and decision points for developers in the process. 

The present transition of interconnection queue processing by US transmission operators from a "first-come, first-served" serial process to a "first-ready, first-served" cluster process is also described.

A description of the types of studies that are performed by transmission operators in evaluating interconnection requests, including power flow, short-circuit, transient stability, and EMT (Electromagnetic Transients) studies and the meaning of their results is provided.

This course also provides an overview of the physical and electrical interconnection of solar PV to transmission, including the primary equipment that composes substations and tie lines. It presents an overview of monitoring, control, and protection concepts that are important to interconnections.


What You Get

This course has been designed so that you will:

  • Get a thorough understanding of the considerations and criteria for successful interconnections of utility-scale solar PV to transmission
  • Become conversant in the language and concepts of transmission system interconnections, and have better conversations during solar PV project development and execution
  • Become more valuable to your organization, and enhance your career progression in the connection of utility-scale solar PV to transmission

What You Can Expect
Due to the nature of the subject, the material in this course is a mix of technical and non-technical content.  It is recognized that not everyone taking this course will be an electric power engineer, and the material was developed to accommodate that and still provide meaningful content.  At any point, you are free to request more material on the background of this course, and we will do our best to help you out.  Also, see the note at the top of this page regarding bundling this course with the "Introduction to Transmission Systems" course.

Non-technical topics include roles of industry participants, interconnection processes and queues, and current interconnection issues and reforms.  Technical topics include electric power concepts, equipment, applications, and power system studies.  

Visual Learning

Extensive use of graphics is used in the instructional videos, and you can download a copy of all class material for future use.

In this course, Tim Taylor, Owner of Electric Distribution Academy, brings his 30+ years of experience in transmission and distribution systems, utility-scale solar plants, and interconnection requirements and processes to give students the background to succeed in the growing utility-scale solar PV industry.

Tim is readily available through the class discussion board.

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Course outline

5 modules • 13 assignments

Welcome • 3 assignments
Orientation Materials

This course is self-paced, so you don’t need to be logged in at any specific time. You can get started immediately after you enroll and the course materials will remain in your account with minimum guaranteed access for 12 months (1 year) after enrollment.

  • Set up email notifications and your student profile
  • Introduce yourself on the discussion board
  • Presentation/Lecture Materials
Module 1 • 2 assignments
Solar PV Interconnection to Transmission - Current State and Challenges

In this module, generation interconnection to transmission is introduced. We look at the current state of interconnections, trends, and challenges. We discuss the goals of successful interconnections from the perspectives of generation developers/owners and from transmission owners and ISOs. Transmission owner interconnection requirements are reviewed. We go over important FERC Orders that continue to shape interconnection processes in the US, including FERC Orders 2023, 1920, and 1977. We look at FERC's pro forma LGIP and LGIA, that form the basis of transmission providers' interconnection processes and agreements. We look at OATT's (Open Access Transmission Tariffs) and their role in generator interconnection. We also have a look at the most significant NERC federal regulations pertaining to generator interconnections.

  • Glossary of Terms Used in NERC Reliability Standards (.pdf)
  • MORE ASSIGNMENTS ARE BEING ADDED
Module 2 • 1 assignments
Processes for Generator Interconnection to Transmission

In this module we take a look at processes for generator interconnection to transmission. We step through typical generator interconnection processes and the steps in the processes, for utilities belonging to ISO's/RTO's as well as non-ISO utilities. We look at how interconnection queues operate, and and differences between the "First Come, First Served Serial Study" approach and the "First Ready, First Served Cluster Study" approach. We look at the difference between ERIS (Energy Resource Interconnection Service) and NRIS (Network Resource Interconnection Service). Finally we briefly look at cost allocation for transmission system upgrades driven by generator interconnection.

  • MORE ASSIGNMENTS ARE BEING ADDED
Module 3 • 2 assignments
Technical Studies for Generator Interconnection to Transmission

For each proposed generator interconnection, the transmission provider (or designated consultant) performs a series of studies, which are typically called Feasibility Study, System Impact Study, and Facilities Study, which are performed in this order in the interconnection process. We take a look at these studies, data requirements, what they entail, and what their results are. We discuss the different types of studies, including frequency-domain power flow, short-circuit, and transient stability. We also look at the emerging requirements for EMT (Electromagnetic Transient) time-domain simulations, the reasons why they are being requested, and how they impact the generator interconnection process. We look at example reports from actual studies, and discuss their meaning. Affected system studies are also described.

  • RTDS - Real Time Digital Simulator for EMT Models (.pdf)
  • MORE ASSIGNMENTS ARE BEING ADDED
Module 4 • 1 assignments
Principal Interconnection Equipment

Connecting a new generating facility to transmission requires a set of equipment that must be highly-engineered with one another, as well as the transmission system. In this module, we look at that interconnection equipment, from the inverters to the transmission POI (Point of Interconnection), including cables, switches, overhead lines, underground cables, circuit breakers, protective relaying, substation automation, and communications equipment. We also discuss how this equipment is engineered as a system, and the different architectures that can be used to connect a generating facility to transmission.

  • MORE ASSIGNMENTS ARE BEING ADDED
Module 5 • 0 assignments
Interconnection Monitoring, Control, and Protection

In this module, we take a look at monitoring, control, and protection of the interconnection. We go over NERC standards that define requirements in this area, and requirements that ISOs/RTOs and Transmission Operators may have. We look at the roles of the power plant controller and the inverter control in the interconnection. We also look at protective relaying and disturbance reporting on transmission systems.

Conclusion • 4 assignments
Feedback and Additional Resources

This is our last module but you still have access to the all of course materials for 12 months (1 year), so keep working and you'll be able to complete the course at your own pace. After your year of access expires you can optionally extend access with a HeatSpring Membership. Enjoy the course and keep in touch!

  • 1 Year of Access to Course Materials
  • Feedback: 2-minute Exit Survey
  • Consider Joining as a HeatSpring Member
  • Certificate of Completion: Request a Certificate

Instructor

  • Tim Taylor

    Owner and Managing Director, Electric Distribution Academy
    View profile

    Tim is Owner and Managing Director of Electric Distribution Academy and has over 30 years of experience in distribution system engineering. He’s led and participated in many projects with many North American utilities and has also worked in Europe and Latin American. In addition to papers, articles, and conference presentations, he has served as an instructor for... Learn more

Frequently asked questions

How does this course work?
This course is currently being developed. You can pre-order the course today and get access to the materials as they are developed. 


How long do I have access to the materials?
You will have access to the full course materials for one year from the official launch date.
Is there a certificate of completion?
Yes, when you complete this course you are eligible for a certificate of completion from HeatSpring. You can download your certificate as soon as you have completed all of the course requirements. Students can easily share their verified certificates on their LinkedIn profiles using our LinkedIn integration.


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