ICE installs grid extensions at its cost when growing regions or neighborhoods account for at least ten new connections in communities where the grid is nearby. Often remote homeowners do not have the neighborhood demand to petition for grid extension at public cost and must underwrite the infrastructure extension in order have grid power. Before grid-tie, the economics revolved around the capital cost difference between costly independent alternative power supply, or costly grid extension. Recent grid-tie policy has increased the incentive to connect to the grid, even for remote power generators, since grid-tie connections are both more stable and less costly than independent power supplies.
In order to extend the grid, a homeowner may enter into an agreement with ICE. The owner underwrites the capital investment and donates the infrastructure to ICE, which then provides maintenance and service thereafter.
Approval requires the following steps:
1) Preliminary approval by ICE
2) SETENA approval of either a D-1 or D-2 environmental permit
3) College of Architects and Engineer approval of a grid extension system design.
4) Securement of easements for anchors located on private property.
5) Municipal building permit securement.
6) Final ICE approval.
As a rule of thumb, grid extensions cost around $20,000 per kilometer and initial permitting costs around $5000. The process has its own set of bureaucratic entanglements. OPW averages around four months to secure permitting and ICE contracting. Construction is typically quick, and final ICE approval, warming of the lines, and commissioning typically takes a month but can take longer for complex extensions involving multiple beneficiaries.