Xcel’s Hosting Capacity Map Is Better, but Needs Improvement Before It’s Useful for Interconnecting Distributed Solar

In early April, ILSR submitted comments to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission concerning electrical utility Xcel Energy’s 2021 Hosting Capacity Report. Minnesota is one of seven states that require utilities to conduct internet hosting capability evaluation and current their leads to a map useful resource. The six different states requiring internet hosting capability evaluation are California, Connecticut, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and Maryland.

Xcel presents the outcomes of its quarterly internet hosting capability evaluation (HCA) in an internet Hosting Capacity Map. Publicly shared internet hosting capability information helps photo voltaic builders, electrical prospects, and others make extra knowledgeable choices about the place to place new photo voltaic technology on the electrical grid.

Read this post for ILSR’s 2020 Hosting Capacity Analysis Report feedback and listen to episode 135 of Local Energy Rules for an in-depth rationalization of internet hosting capability evaluation.

If the evaluation is completed effectively, prospects can use it as a sign of obtainable technology internet hosting capability in a selected space of the grid, permitting a photo voltaic venture developer to know if there’s room so as to add their venture there. The Minnesota Commission has additionally set a long-term aim for internet hosting capability evaluation to simplify the distributed technology interconnection course of’s quick monitor screens.

In these feedback, ILSR notes a number of methods Xcel Energy has improved the Hosting Capacity Map. The feedback then name consideration to some excellent points from the Company’s 2020 report, which ILSR commented on in April 2021. Finally, ILSR asks that the Commission maintain stakeholder workshops with Xcel Energy and business specialists to develop the methodology for a load internet hosting capability evaluation (which might assist to think about new electrical makes use of, reminiscent of electrical autos), which Xcel should full by November 2022.

Read ILSR’s feedback to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in full under.

April 4, 2022


RE: Docket E002/M-21-767 In the Matter of Xcel Energy’s 2021 Hosting Capacity Report

Dear Mr. Seuffert:

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) respectfully submits the next feedback on Xcel Energy’s 2021 Hosting Capacity Report.

The Commission ought to settle for Xcel Energy’s 2021 Hosting Capacity Analysis Report. On the entire, the Report achieves the necessities outlined within the Commission’s July 31, 2020 Order, the Commission’s November 9, 2021 Order, and Minn. Stat. §216B.2425, Subd. 8. Xcel has accomplished a lot of the enhancements to its on-line internet hosting capability map, the info is offered in a method that serves Xcel prospects and grid stakeholders, and the quarterly replace cadence is an enchancment — although month-to-month updates and different enhancements are wanted earlier than integrating HCA with the interconnection course of.

Lastly, the Commission ought to replicate the stakeholder engagement alternatives surrounding Xcel Energy’s Hosting Capacity Analysis Report in Xcel’s upcoming load internet hosting capability evaluation, which the Commission required in its November 9, 2021 Order.

  • Xcel’s on-line Hosting Capacity Map is a useful and helpful illustration of the Hosting Capacity Analysis Report.

Xcel’s compliance with the Commission’s July 2020 order to incorporate all standards threshold violations within the hosting capacity map pop-ups is a major enchancment to the map.

Xcel, the Commission, and intervenors are addressing the Company’s noncompliance with Order Point 12 of the Commission’s July 2020 order in Docket E999/M-20-800 (In the Matter of a Commission Investigation on Grid and Customer Security Issues Related to Public Display or Access to Electric Distribution Grid Data).

  • The Hosting Capacity Analysis methodology wants many enhancements earlier than it’s built-in with the interconnection course of.

The Commission has a long-term aim to make use of the Hosting Capacity Analysis within the interconnection course of’s quick monitor screens. If Hosting Capacity Analysis is to combine with the interconnection course of, the 2 should function below the identical assumptions. 

In this 12 months’s Hosting Capacity Analysis Report, Xcel modified the facility issue for DER websites from 98 to 95 % to be in alignment with the interconnection examine course of. That change is a step in the proper course. However, there’s a extra vital discrepancy in how the 2 processes deal with distributed vitality tasks within the queue.

The interconnection course of assumes that queued tasks are operational. Xcel’s Hosting Capacity Analysis, alternatively, doesn’t embrace tasks which are within the interconnection queue. As the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) positioned in earlier feedback, so as for prospects to make use of HCA as a sign of obtainable internet hosting capability and for Xcel to make use of HCA as a primary step within the interconnection course of, queued tasks must be handled as operational within the HCA. This inclusion could be in step with the methodology of different utilities which have built-in internet hosting capability evaluation with the interconnection course of, according to IREC.

The Company’s rationale for excluding queued DER tasks is that to incorporate them “would create too much variability as many projects enter and exit the queue during the [hosting capacity] analysis period. Xcel might mitigate this drawback by conducting a month-to-month internet hosting capability evaluation replace cadence — which is one other change needed for integrating HCA with the interconnection course of.

  • Xcel’s projected prices to carry out month-to-month updates want additional examination.

Many intervenors have requested that Xcel carry out month-to-month updates to its internet hosting capability evaluation. Monthly updates could be extra helpful for the a number of internet hosting capability evaluation functions envisioned by the Commission, together with its final integration with the interconnection course of. 

Since Xcel has not achieved a extra detailed evaluation of the prices for a month-to-month HCA replace, the Company’s conceptual estimate must be handled with warning. IREC has detailed several ways wherein the strategies and ensuing prices of Xcel’s conceptual proposal have been extreme. IREC has a forthcoming report with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on HCA information validation plans which can be a helpful useful resource for The Commission and the upcoming stakeholder workshops on integrating HCA with interconnection.

  • The fee ought to maintain stakeholder workshops with Xcel Energy and business specialists to develop the load internet hosting capability evaluation methodology.

As Minnesota electrical prospects more and more electrify their autos and buildings, electrical load internet hosting capability information turns into a needed useful resource. The Commission has asked Xcel Energy to conduct a separate internet hosting capability evaluation for load by November 2022. As was achieved with the technology Hosting Capacity Analysis, the Commission ought to maintain stakeholder conferences to ascertain a technique, together with inputs, limiting standards, and thresholds. Additionally, ILSR echoes IREC’s comment {that a} load internet hosting capability evaluation just isn’t full with out together with present distributed technology. 

Thank you for the chance to remark and for taking over this vital dialog; we respect that there has not been any legislative preemption of this regulatory course of.



Maria McCoy, Institute for Local Self-Reliance

This article initially posted at ilsr.org. For well timed updates, comply with John Farrell on Twitter, our vitality work on Facebook, or signal as much as get the Energy Democracy weekly update.

Featured photograph credit score: Xcel Energy Hosting Capacity Map.



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