Rules governing interconnection agreements between distributed generators and utilities are likely to change under a rulemaking the California Public Utilities Commission opened Sept. 22. Regulators hope to make it easier for distributed generators to sell power to utilities in support of Gov. Jerry Brown\u2019s 12,000 MW distributed generation goal. The commission agreed it\u2019s time to review its interconnection rules in order to eliminate conflicts with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission standards that also apply, plus address emerging technologies, such as energy storage devices considered important to integrating renewable energy into the grid.. Advocating for the regulatory review, commissioner Mike Florio observed that the commission\u2019s interconnection policy has allowed thousands of rooftop solar installations in recent years, \u201cbut for larger generators who want to sell to utilities the process is working hardly at all.\u201d Florio said the chief goal will be to strike a \u201cbalance\u201d between the need for grid reliability and the regulatory certainty distributed generation project developers need to successfully complete projects. Commissioner Tim Simon called the rulemaking \u201cmuch needed.\u201d Commissioner Mark Ferron raised hope it would \u201cbring down the cost to developers\u201d and \u201clower barriers to the distributed generation market.\u201d The overall goals are to make the interconnection process more timely for project developers and ensure the process is non-discriminatory, cost-effective, and transparent. At its meeting this week, the commission also set the stage for approving a San Diego Gas & Electric contract to purchase renewable energy credits associated with an existing energy purchase contract it\u2019s had for years with two wind projects. Commissioners voiced general support for the contract and pledged to act on it at their Oct. 20 meeting. The contract arises after the Department of Water Resources transferred a crisis-era power purchase agreement with the wind projects to SDG&E. The projects are run by Cabazon Wind Partners and Whitewater Hill Wind Partners and together are to supply 285 GWh of power to SDG&E for the period 2009-11. SDG&E\u2014which faces the need to meet the state\u2019s renewable energy standard\u2014did not get the renewable energy attributes of the power transferred to it. To help meet its renewable energy goal, it now wants to buy the renewable energy credits associated with the power over the three years. At issue is whether to change the commission rules to define the two separate contracts for power and renewable energy as one bundled contract or whether to grant an exception to the existing rule, which prevents SDG&E from buying the credits in a subsequent transaction, explained CPUC energy division director Julie Fitch. Expressing what appeared to be the general consensus among regulators, commissioner Tim Simon said allowing the purchase \u201cmakes practical sense.\u201d However, Ferron held any vote on the item until Oct. 20 so the CPUC would have time to complete one portion of a rulemaking to implement the state\u2019s new 33 percent renewable energy standard law, which would allow not only SDG&E\u2019s transaction, but other such deals going forward. Regulators also refused Pacific Gas & Electric\u2019s request for $33 million to study building a pumped-storage facility on Bear Creek reservoirs in the El Dorado National forest. The ruling left open the possibility of the utility coming back to the commission if and when the need for such a facility is indicated and if so, requested greater detail in the information PG&E provides to the commission on the proposed plant. The decision took into consideration the California Independent System Operator\u2019s data in an ongoing commission proceeding. The grid operator noted that no additional resources, like pumped storage, are currently required to integrate renewable energy into the grid in formal proceedings. After that testimony, CAISO staff backed down from that assertion, saying more than 4,000 MW for integration may be necessary (Current, Aug. 26, 2011).