FERC rejects Southwest Power Pool interconnect deal for Texas wind project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Jan. 6 rejected a Nov. 7 filing by the Southwest Power Pool of an interconnect deal for a 478 MW wind project.

The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) had filed an unexecuted Generator Interconnection Agreement (GIA) among SPP as transmission provider, Hale Community Energy LLC as interconnection customer and Southwestern Public Service (SPS) as transmission owner.

In December 2013, SPP had filed revisions to its Generator Interconnection Procedures that included changes to the pro forma GIA, according to GenerationHub. SPP states that the commission conditionally approved the proposed revisions, subject to further compliance, and granted an effective date of March 1, 2014 for the revised Generator Interconnection Procedures.

SPP explained that the Substitute Original Hale GIA facilitates the interconnection of Hale’s planned 478-MW wind facility to SPS’s transmission system. SPP states that the Original Hale GIA became effective on May 29, 2014. However, because Hale did not have an executed GIA as of March 1, 2014, SPP asserts that Hale is subject to the revised Generator Interconnection Procedures approved in a June 20014 FERC order, and it is required to transition to the revised Generator Interconnection Procedures by August 12, 2014.

SPP explained that it modified the Original Hale GIA to conform to the pro forma GIA approved in the June 13 order, and sent the draft Substitute Original Hale GIA to Hale for execution on August 12, 2014. SPP explained that it is submitting the Substitute Original Hale GIA because Hale declined to execute it.

Hale protested SPP’s filing, contending that the commission should reject the unexecuted Substitute Original Hale GIA because SPP delayed tender of a draft GIA to Hale in violation of SPP’s applicable Open Access Transmission Tariff until after SPP filed revised Generator Interconnection Procedures containing revised security posting requirements. In its answer, SPP argued that the protest is an impermissible, out-of-time rehearing request and collateral attack on SPP’s commission-approved revisions to its Generator Interconnection Procedures and the June 13 order.

Said the Jan. 6 FERC rejection order: "We reject the unexecuted Substitute Original Hale GIA. Section 11.1 of Attachment V (Generator Interconnection Procedures) of SPP’s Tariff requires that '[s]imultaneously with issuance of the final Interconnection Facilities Study report, the Transmission Provider shall tender to the Interconnection Customer a draft GIA together with draft appendices. The draft GIA shall be in the form of the Transmission Provider’s FERC-approved standard form GIA.' However, SPP did not tender a draft GIA to Hale until March 5, 2014."

FERC directed SPP to continue service under the terms and conditions set forth in the Original Hale GIA, which became effective May 29, 2014. Furthermore, FERC said it will recognize the Original Hale GIA as a non-conforming service agreement under SPP’s Tariff and, accordingly, it directed SPP to submit the Original Hale GIA to the commission in a compliance filing within 30 days of the date of this order.

Hale plans to construct a 478 MW wind power facility consisting of 284 General Electric 1.68 MW XLE wind turbines. The point of interconnection will be SPS’s TUCO 230-kV Interchange Substation in Hale County, Texas. The commercial operation target date for this project is June 30, 2016.

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