Wednesday, March 20, 2019

FERC OKs Mich. Wind GIA, Leaves Open Funding Issue

By Amanda Durish Cook

FERC last week accepted a revised generator interconnection agreement (GIA) between MISO and a Michigan wind farm, avoiding complex analysis from the fallout of a vacatur of the commission’s previous orders covering transmission owners’ ability to fund network upgrades.

The Dec. 20 order allows Invenergy’s 150-MW, 60-turbine Crescent Wind Farm near the Michigan-Ohio border to interconnect to the MISO system under a revised agreement that eliminates TO Michigan Electric Transmission Co.’s (METC) “unilateral right to elect to provide initial funding for network upgrades” (ER18-2340). The new GIA allows METC to provide initial funding for network upgrades “only upon mutual agreement with the interconnection customer.”

Crescent Wind Farm interconnection site map | MISO

In approving the GIA, FERC focused on the requested effective date, not the issues still in flux around agreements executed between mid-2015 to mid-2018, after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals early this year vacated FERC orders dealing with TOs’ rights to fund upgrades.

MISO in July submitted a pre-emptive Section 205 filing to retain the option to allow new generators to self-fund interconnection transmission upgrades. (See MISO Files Revised Upgrade Funding Provisions.) FERC dismissed that filing as moot after deciding TO initial funding should be included in MISO’s pro forma GIA only prospectively as of Aug. 31, 2018. It instituted a briefing schedule to determine how to address GIAs, facility construction agreements and multiparty facility construction agreements that were entered into between June 24, 2015, and Aug. 31, 2018.

FERC said because MISO and Crescent Wind filed for an Aug. 15, 2018, agreement effective date, MISO’s previous pro forma GIA should be followed, which allows TOs to provide initial funding for network upgrades “only upon the mutual agreement of the interconnection customer.”

“We find the amended agreement to be just and reasonable because such language was not included in MISO’s pro forma GIA as of the effective date of the amended agreement,” FERC said.

METC had requested FERC reject the amended agreement, arguing that MISO’s removal of the funding language is premature because the commission is still working through whether to include language allowing the initial TO funding of network upgrades for all GIAs executed between June 24, 2015, and Aug. 31, 2018. METC also pointed out that the agreement does not contain any network upgrades that would be subject to TO initial funding. FERC did not address the argument.

The Crescent Wind GIA is also exempt from FERC Order 842 primary frequency response requirements because MISO requested an exemption for all projects having reached at least the second decision point in its interconnection queue before May 15, 2018.