Thursday, February 21, 2019

ISO-NE Completes FCA 13 Despite Controversy

By Michael Kuser

ISO-NE concluded Forward Capacity Auction 13 on Monday at the lowest clearing price in six years, moving ahead with the event despite Vineyard Wind’s pre-dawn, emergency motion asking FERC to stay the process.

It was the first auction run under the Competitive Auctions with Sponsored Policy Resources (CASPR) rules, which established a secondary substitution auction in which Vineyard assumed an obligation of 54 MW from an existing resource that will retire in the relevant 2022/23 commitment period, the RTO said.

The auction’s preliminary clearing price of $3.80/kW-month was well under last year’s clearing price of $4.63/kW-month.

Closing at a preliminary clearing price of $3.80/kW-month, FCA 13 continues the trend of declining prices shown in the previous three auctions. | ISO-NE

“This year’s auctions procured the resources needed for a reliable power system at a competitive price, while implementing new procedures to accommodate state-sponsored renewable resources,” Robert Ethier, ISO-NE vice president of market operations, said in a statement. “It’s our responsibility to run these auctions and our wholesale markets under the rules approved by FERC, and we fulfilled that responsibility again this year.”

Resources totaling 43,641 MW, including 34,925 MW of existing capacity and 238 new resources totaling 8,716 MW, qualified to participate in this year’s auction, while the regional capacity target for 2022/23 is 33,750 MW, the RTO said.

Border Issues

Vineyard’s emergency motion came after the commission failed to act on the wind developer’s Dec. 14 request for waiver of ISO-NE Tariff provisions requiring that the auction’s renewable technology resource (RTR) exemption be granted only to resources within the borders of a New England state (ER19-570, ER19-444). (See Vineyard Wind Files Emergency Motion to Stay ISO-NE Auction.)

FERC Commissioners Cheryl LaFleur and Richard Glick issued a joint statement Feb. 4 saying that “by failing to act, the commission has introduced significant uncertainty into this auction. All parties, including New England’s states, consumers and auction participants, deserve better.”

A joint venture by Iberdrola and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, Vineyard last May won a contract to supply Massachusetts with 800 MW of offshore wind energy, and in December won another lease area off Martha’s Vineyard in an auction conducted by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. (See Mass. Offshore Lease Auction Nets Record $405 Million.)

Killingly Energy Center natural gas combined cycle plant schematic | Killingly Energy Center

The RTO on Wednesday reported the primary auction concluded with commitments from 34,839 MW to be available in 2022/23, leaving a surplus of 1,089 MW over the capacity requirement.

“More than 2,600 MW of new resources secured obligations during the primary and substitution auctions, including the Killingly Energy Center, a 650-MW natural gas plant under development in Connecticut, new energy efficiency and demand response resources, and imports,” the RTO said.

In addition, approximately 145 MW of resources received obligations under the RTR designation, which allows a limited number of renewable resources to participate in the auction without being subject to the minimum offer price rule.

Under ISO-NE’s Tariff, only renewable resources built within a New England state were eligible for the RTR exemption in FCA 13. Offshore wind projects proposed for federal waters will be eligible for the exemption in FCA 14, scheduled for February 2020. More than 300 MW remain in the RTR exemption cap and will be carried over to next year’s auction, the RTO said.

The grid operator also reported that it had retained two units, Mystic 8 and 9, needed for fuel security in the 2022/23 capacity year, as approved by FERC. (See ISO-NE Fuel Security Measures Approved.)

The RTO said by the end of this month it will file with the commission finalized auction results, including resource-specific information.

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