“Policies and regulations governing electricity distribution systems are key to transitioning to a cleaner, consumer-driven, resilient, low-carbon electricity grid capable of meeting the myriad challenges of the 21st Century.”
Sara Baldwin Auck, IREC Regulatory Program Director
IREC aims to facilitate the adoption of policies and regulatory reforms that increase access to and streamline grid integration of distributed energy resources in order to optimize their widespread benefits.
Our independent voice, policy expertise, and national insight help inform and guide fact-based, regulatory decision making on distributed energy resources (DERs), such as distributed solar and energy storage, in emerging and established markets alike.
Our Core Issues
- Interconnection standards are the ‘rules of the road’ for the electricity grid, specifying the processes, costs and timelines associated with connecting renewable energy systems, energy storage, and other distributed energy resources (DERs) to the grid. Statewide standards aligned with well-vetted best practices, such as IREC’s Model Rules, can provide greater consistency across utilities and help streamline the interconnection process for all involved stakeholders. As more states and utilities experience increased demand for DERs, IREC works in states across the country and through national forums to advance regulatory reforms to make connecting to the grid more affordable, efficient and cost-effective. Learn more about this foundational policy and IREC’s state and national leadership on interconnection here.
- Shared renewable energy (sometimes called community renewables) is on the rise, with more states and utilities adopting programs, policies, and projects as a means to expand clean energy access to more consumers. IREC has been at the forefront of the shared renewable energy growth in the U.S. since its inception, developing model rules, guiding principles, a state policy catalog, and other tools to lay the foundation for best practice program and policy design across the country. IREC also works in numerous states to provide guidance and support the adoption of established best practices. IREC focuses on the consumer experience and workable strategies to ensure shared renewables programs are accessible to low- to moderate-income customers. Learn more about IREC’s national shared renewable energy leadership here.
- States and utilities across the country are setting in motion needed updates and reforms to century-old electricity systems and regulatory regimes. These “grid modernization” efforts aim to optimize the integration of distributed energy resources, including clean renewable energy and energy storage, while also seeking to remove disincentives to their widespread adoption. Through active engagement in multiple state grid modernization proceedings, IREC provides input and guidance to assist regulators, utilities, and regulatory stakeholders identify workable methods to shift grid planning for clean energy from a one-by-one decision-making process to a more proactive approach, while still maintaining the safety and reliability of the grid. Learn more about our grid modernization activities here.
- Advanced energy storage technologies have tremendous potential to transform the electricity grid; yet, energy storage needs more clear policy and regulatory frameworks to scale and become more mainstream across all markets. IREC’s regulatory leadership and guidance on this topic, particularly on distributed energy storage, is facilitating the development of foundational regulatory policies to enable near-term and long-term growth this promising distributed energy resource. In addition, IREC is active in several state energy storage proceedings, which are paving the path for energy storage market growth in the years to come. Learn more about IREC’s state energy storage resources and efforts here.
- The multifamily building sector is a large, yet untapped market for solar energy. For multifamily tenants (be they owners or renters), accessing the benefits of solar is contingent on the availability of policies or programs, such as Virtual Net Metering or Shared Renewables, to accommodate multifamily arrangements. IREC is currently partnering with other organizations to identify challenges and generate tools and solutions to expand solar access for the multifamily sector, including solar for affordable housing to benefit low- to moderate-income households. Learn more about our recent activities in California and other markets here.
How We Work
State Regulatory Engagement
- IREC’s involvement in regulatory proceedings in nearly every state over the past decade and a half has led to consensus-based, viable solutions that enable higher penetrations of distributed energy resources and streamline the process of connecting to the grid. IREC coordinates closely with diverse local and regional stakeholders and provides independent, fact-based policy leadership informed by our multi-state engagement and national perspective.
Regulatory and Policy Tools
- IREC develops model rules and guidelines for best practices, such as for interconnection and shared renewables, among others, that help save states energy and time by featuring replicable best practices for others to emulate. IREC provides national thought leadership and foundational resources on critical policy topics, such as energy storage, integrated distribution planning, and low- to moderate-income access
- IREC partners with organizations and the US Department of Energy, such as through the Solar Market Pathways effort, to provide technical assistance and guidance to inform efforts across the country working to advance solar.