Parallel Generation in Kansas
Parallel generation was implemented in response to the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act of 1978 (PURPA), which required utilities to purchase excess power from grid-connected small renewable energy systems at a rate of what it costs the utility to produce or purchase power.
In 1979, Kansas Legislature responded to PURPA by enacting K.S.A. 66-1,184, which gave the Kansas Corporation Commission jurisdiction required to implement the requirements of PURPA and the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee’s rules and regulations.
In parallel generation, two single electric meters are installed at the customer-generator’s site. One meter records electricity drawn from the grid, and the other records excess electricity generated by the customer-generator and fed back onto the grid. The customer-generator pays the retail rate for the electricity drawn from the grid. The local electric utility purchases the excess electricity at a rate based upon the utility’s avoided cost (the monthly system average cost of energy per kilowatt hour).The percentage of compensation depends on the size of the generation. See below for more details.
In Kansas, customer-generators may utilize either net metering or parallel generation. However, the choice must be made in writing and filed with the utility. All Kansas utilities (investor-owned, rural electric cooperatives, and municipally-owned or operated) must offer parallel generation, but only investor-owned utilities are required to offer net metering.
The utility will supply, own, and maintain all necessary meters and associated equipment utilized for billing. The utility may install, own, and maintain a disconnecting device located near the electric meter or meters.
The customer shall supply, install, operate, and maintain any control and protective equipment (relays, locks and seals, breakers, etc.) required by the utility for operation of a generator in parallel with the utility’s system. Upon notification by the customer of the customer's intent to construct and install parallel generation, the utility shall provide the customer a written estimate of all costs that will be incurred by the utility and billed to the customer to accommodate the interconnection.
For the purposes of ensuring the safety and quality of utility system power, the utility may require the customer, at certain times and as electrical operating conditions warrant, to limit the production of electrical energy from the generating facility to an amount no greater than the load at the customer's facility.
In order to enter a contract for parallel generation, the maximum allowable capacity of renewable generating equipment is:
- 25 kilowatts for residential customers;
- 200 kilowatts for commercial customers; and
- 5 megawatts for Cloud County and Dodge City Community Colleges.
Such generators shall be appropriately sized for such customer's anticipated electric load.
In addition, the utility may limit the number and size of renewable generators to be connected to the utility's system due to the capacity of the distribution line to which such renewable generator would be connected.
Net Excess Generation
- Parallel generators using renewable resources with capacity of 200 kilowatts or less are compensated by the utility at a rate of no less than 150% percent of the utility’s avoided cost for the electricity generated.
- Cloud County and Dodge City Community Colleges are compensated at a rate of no less than 100% of the utility’s avoided cost.
A utility may credit such compensation to the customer’s account or pay such compensation to the customer at least annually or when the total compensation equals $25 or more.
In no case shall the utility be obligated to purchase an amount greater than 4% of such utility's peak power requirements.