Tuesday, January 22, 2019

FERC Again Denies MISO Wind Developers’ Queue Complaint

By Amanda Durish Cook

FERC last week again declined to modify MISO’s interconnection queue rules, rejecting rehearing requests from wind developers who say the RTO is moving too slowly for them to meet the federal production tax credit deadline.

The Oct. 31 order is the second time FERC has denied EDF Renewable Energy’s request that MISO be required to devise a fast-track option in its interconnection queue for projects that can demonstrate readiness for development (EL18-55-001). (See FERC Sides with MISO in Queue Design Dispute.)

FERC once again declined to modify MISO’s interconnection queue rules | E.ON Climate and Renewables

E.ON Climate and Renewables, Invenergy, Tenaska Wind Holdings and Project Resources Corp. had joined EDF in seeking rehearing. The companies argued that FERC rendered a decision without addressing the situation’s harm to consumers or analyzing the need for a one-time departure from queue rules considering the 2020 PTC deadline.

But FERC said EDF still has not met its burden of proof to show that that MISO’s queue design is unreasonable, unjust or discriminatory. The commission also said “some of EDF’s claims about queue delays were overstated,” as the RTO said that most interconnection customers would complete the queue in time to begin commercial operation before Dec. 31, 2020, the deadline for receiving the full PTC. In any case, FERC said queue delays that might preclude some interconnection customers from the full advantage of a tax credit “does not amount to MISO’s failure to make reasonable efforts under its Tariff.”

“Delays in the interconnection process can be due to actions outside of MISO’s control, such as customer withdrawals and actions of affected systems,” FERC pointed out.

But, as with the last order, the commission ended with a warning for the RTO to improve its queue practices: “We strongly urge MISO, along with its stakeholders, to make addressing MISO’s interconnection queue processing delays a priority. We urge MISO to look to the other RTOs for best practices, closely examine the resources it is dedicating to the interconnection study process and consider whether additional resources would alleviate queue delays, as well as fully consider other approaches for improvement.”

MISO’s queue contains about 490 projects totaling more than 80 GW, down from 90 GW earlier in the fall.

The RTO has been working to speed up the queue through more stringent site control requirements and increased milestone payments. Staff say the changes will encourage stalled projects to withdraw from the queue earlier in the process. (See “MISO to File Queue Changes,” MISO Queues up Interconnection Options.)

The RTO has also eliminated the dynamic stability, short-circuit and affected-system analyses from the first phase of the queue’s definitive planning phase. The studies are repeated in the queue’s later phases. (See MISO Plan to Reduce Queue Studies Gets FERC Nod.)