Midwest states seek to cut time, costs for solar connections

States across the Midwest are updating their interconnection rules for solar customers, a process likely to cut the time and money required to establish a connection to the grid. In addition, the new standards will equip utilities to efficiently process solar applications as their numbers likely escalate in coming years, according to an attorney who worked on revisions recently approved by the Iowa Utilities Board. Updated and improved interconnection standards are “a critical part of moving distributed generation ahead. And having clear, fair and efficient interconnection rules is critical to enabling a healthy distributed generation market,” said Sky Stanfield, an attorney who was involved in negotiating the new standards. The costs of interconnection are among the “soft costs” of solar installation that have not fallen along with the hardware costs of solar panels in recent years.

While cause remains unclear, earthquake prompts new look at Ohio fracking

Regardless of how regulators resolve their investigation into an April 2 earthquake in southeastern Ohio, drilling and well operators in the area will almost certainly need to do more careful monitoring and reporting in the future, now that there’s a known seismic risk. “Any time an earthquake occurs, that’s an indication that there’s a fault there,” said geologist Michael Brudzinski at Miami University in Oxford. The magnitude 3.0 quake on April 2 took place at 7:58 a.m. in the Marietta unit of Wayne National Forest in southeastern Ohio. “We hadn’t really seen [an earthquake] in the area where this one occurred” in April, with the exception of the two events of magnitudes of 2.3 and 1.8 on December 12, 2016, Brudzinski noted. Nearby oil and gas activities are on hold pending further investigation by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.