FERC approves MISO plan on competitive transmission development

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FERC on Nov. 13 directed the Midcontinent ISO to make a few changes to its competitive transmission developer qualification and selection process, but generally accepted many provisions sought by the grid operator in its Sept. 16 filing.

The order (Docket No. ER15-2657) accepted MISO’s revised Attachment FF in compliance with FERC’s Order 1000 and the pro forma selected developer agreement (SDA) that is designed to promote competition to build transmission facilities. It directed MISO to clarify what type of financial information it will require of transmission developers and some other elements of its plan in response to comments or protests from various parties.

MISO is pleased that FERC accepted the filing, a MISO spokesperson told TransmissionHub on Nov. 17.

“We look forward to continue working with stakeholders to carry out the transmission developer selection process,” he said.

MISO’s proposal included issuing requests for proposals from qualified transmission developers that want to build transmission projects that are eligible for competitive bidding. MISO would then evaluate the proposals and choose a developer for each project that is subject to the competitive bidding process.

In its Sept. 16 filing, MISO proposed revisions to the competitive transmission developer qualification and selection process contained in Attachment FF of its open-access tariff and a pro forma SDA, which elicited some protests from transmission developers and others.

As TransmissionHub reported, Edison Transmission, a unit of Edison International asserted that the pro forma SDA terms and conditions are too onerous and that the SDA did not come from meaningful discussions between MISO and potential developers, but was crafted without transparency and reflected “micro-management” by MISO that MISO does not impose on incumbent transmission owners.

MISO responded that the proposal was the result of extensive discussions with stakeholders, workshops and exchanges of written comments and answers before it drafted the plan, along with collaboration with other independent system operators to determine what has and has not worked well for other grid operators.

“We find that MISO conducted an open and transparent stakeholder process,” including multiple discussions and workshops, soliciting comments on the proposal over a 16-month period, FERC said in the order.

FERC declined to order a hearing or settlement procedures as some parties had sought about the provisions of the pro forma SDA.

The order found that the representations, warranties and covenants that each party to the SDA must make are reasonable and are not unduly discriminatory.

Among the changes called for by FERC are for MISO to move language on the responsibility of transmission owners to interconnect their facilities with those of a competitive transmission project from the SDA to Attachment FF.

MISO agreed with NextEra Energy Transmission, a unit of NextEra Energy that the requirement for interconnecting transmission owners to work with selected developers in good faith should be in Attachment FF and not the SDA, FERC related in the order.

FERC directed MISO to submit a compliance filing within 30 days to move the language to be in Attachment FF, including a requirement that a selected developer and an interconnecting transmission owner make reasonable efforts to reach an interconnection agreement at least 120 days before the scheduled in-service date of the competitive transmission project.

FERC also ordered MISO to clarify the type of financial information it will require from transmission developers, rather than pointing to the details outlined in business practice manuals as MISO did in its Sept. 16 filing. Republic Transmission LLC argued that such critical information should be part of the MISO tariff and not left to a business practice manual, and FERC agreed, noting that the goal is to ensure that transmission developers have the capital resources available to fund project costs as they arise.

The commission told MISO “to clarify what types and the purpose of the financial information that must be included in each proposal” to be part of Attachment FF of the tariff in its compliance filing to be submitted within 30 days of the order.

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