Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Federal Hydro Customers Seek Change in MISO Capacity Rules

By Amanda Durish Cook

CARMEL, Ind. — Customers of the Southwestern Power Administration (SWPA) asked MISO on Wednesday to change how it accredits their hydropower allocations from the federal power marketing administration, saying current rules are shortchanging them and denying the RTO full use of the resources’ seasonal peaking capacity.

resource adequacy rules MISO hydropower

Henley | © RTO Insider

“We didn’t come today with a fix. … We’re going to hope that the people in the room come up with a solution and a fix in future meetings,” Rick Henley, of Jonesboro City Water and Light in northeast Arkansas, told stakeholders at a May 10 Resource Adequacy Subcommittee meeting. Appearing on behalf of SWPA customers with Aiden Smith, the agency’s vice president of transmission strategy, Henley offered a problem statement outlining their concerns.

Move from SPP to MISO

SWPA markets about 2,000 MW of power produced by 24 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hydropower projects, most of them located in the SPP footprint.

When Entergy joined MISO in 2013, it added 27 SWPA customers to the RTO’s footprint in addition to one existing customer. “As a result, the vast majority of SWPA’s federal hydropower customers were not present in MISO’s stakeholder processes when the rules concerning resource adequacy were crafted,” the problem statement said.

The problem, Henley said, is that MISO’s resource adequacy rules treat the hydro assets as baseload power when they were designed to provide peaking power. He said MISO could reap reliability benefits in the summer and winter if it modified its requirements for hydro assets.

MISO’s Business Practice Manuals require the Use-Limited Resource type to be available for the four peak hours of the day (1,460 hours/year). But because SWPA’s contracts with Jonesboro and other “preference customers” typically only guarantee power for 1,200 hours/year, MISO revised its rules to give the SWPA customers a reduced capacity credit of 82% of their federal allocations to spread the guaranteed amount of firm energy across 1,460 hours.

Intended as Peaking Power

“While the federal preference customers are very grateful for this compromise, MISO, its footprint and the customers could be better served by federal hydropower if it was used as intended as peaking power,” the problem statement says.

It noted that SWPA hydropower has 236 MW of import capability into MISO. It said one unnamed preference customer with a 100-MW allotment is not importing into the RTO because of the current rules but would do so if the problem were resolved.

“We have a 1,200-hour product that does not conform with MISO’s 1,460-hour resource adequacy rules,” Henley said. “We’re scheduling now as a baseload resource, and we think it reduces the ability of the federal hydropower when it’s most needed and valuable in the MISO footprint. If we can bring more resources to the table, you [would] think that would bring down prices for everyone.”

Jonesboro City Water and Light, which has a 303-MW peak demand for 36,000 customers, has an 80-MW hydropower allocation from SWPA. “It’s a pretty big deal for us,” Henley said of the hydropower share. “We think there’s a better way to utilize this resource within MISO constraints.”

David Sapper of Customized Energy Solutions said stakeholders have long considered asking MISO to revise its resource adequacy rules, saying it’s difficult for any fuel type to meet the availability requirements.

resource adequacy rules MISO hydropower

McFarlane | © RTO Insider

RASC liaison Shawn McFarlane said MISO can examine the issue with stakeholders, but he said the RTO would not commit to a timeline. He said it could work to compile statistics on hydropower use for stakeholders.

“Obviously, anything we apply has to work generally; we cannot create one-offs,” McFarlane said.

RASC Chair Chris Plante said stakeholder process dictates that the issue is first sent to the Steering Committee, which would decide which committee works on it. Steering Committee Chair Tia Elliott said her committee would most likely move the issue to the RASC at the May 24 meeting.

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