Saturday, March 23, 2019

FERC Ends Clear River CSO, Denies Invenergy Waiver

By Michael Kuser

FERC last week granted ISO-NE’s request to terminate the capacity supply obligation (CSO) for Invenergy’s delayed 485-MW Clear River Energy Center Unit 1, while also denying the developer’s request for a Tariff waiver over the matter (ER18-2457).

The RTO said it wanted to terminate the CSO because the combined cycle plant in Burrillville, R.I., will not be operating in time for the beginning of the capacity commitment year starting June 1, 2019. The unit obtained the CSO in Forward Capacity Auction 10, held in February 2016, but is now scheduled to begin commercial operation after June 1, 2021. Invenergy has covered the plant’s CSO for the capacity commitment periods beginning in 2019 and 2020. (See ISO-NE Asks FERC to End Clear River CSO.)

The commission denied Invenergy’s request for waiver because it “would result in undesirable consequences.”

“We find that, on balance, if Clear River is allowed to retain its CSO, or retain its existing capacity resource status, after failing to achieve commercial operation within 63 months after the FCA in which it initially obtained a CSO, it will have undesirable consequences for both system planning and Forward Capacity Market pricing,” the commission said.

Clear River Energy Center concept art | Invenergy

FERC agreed with ISO-NE that continuing to include Clear River in its planning processes would have negative consequences for multiple aspects of system planning and found that doing so would risk misrepresenting capacity availability for the associated delivery years.

“In turn, the FCA may send incorrect market signals for the value of capacity and therefore procure an economically inefficient quantity of capacity overall and/or in certain capacity zones,” the commission said. “Similarly, continuing to account for Clear River as an existing capacity resource may also skew the results of interconnection studies and transmission planning studies.”

The commission found that “allowing a resource that is so significantly late in achieving commercial operation to be treated as an existing capacity resource will have undesirable consequences for Forward Capacity Market pricing.”

Finally, the commission noted that its order addresses only the CSO termination filing submitted by ISO-NE and the companion waiver request submitted by Invenergy, “and does not address whether the Clear River project is in fact ‘needed.’”