This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

July 09, 2003

Research Institute Advances Grid Connection Technology

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), a research consortium for the energy industry, announced two advancements last week that will make it easier for homeowners and businesses to connect power sources to their local electrical power grid. EPRI licensed GenerLink, an interconnection device for portable generators, to Global Power Products of Georgia. GenerLink provides a direct connection to a home's wiring system for portable generators-eliminating the use of clumsy extension cords-while enhancing utility worker safety by automatically disconnecting the home from the power grid during an outage. EPRI is also developing GridGateway, a universal interconnection device for on-site generators such as solar power systems, fuel cells, or microturbines. GridGateway will work with systems ranging from one kilowatt to 200 kilowatts in capacity. See the EPRI press releases on GenerLink and GridGateway.

Grid interconnection is a difficult hurdle for many people and businesses that generate their own power, and part of the difficulty has been the lack of consistent national standards for grid interconnection. That barrier finally fell last month, when the Standards Board of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE) approved IEEE 1547, "Standard for Interconnecting Distributed Resources with Electrical Power Systems." The newly approved standard-the result of a process that began in March 1999-is expected to be published early this summer. See DOE's Distributed Energy Resources Web site for the announcement and background information about IEEE 1547.