By Robert F. Riley
It has been over twelve years since the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued the pro forma Large Generator Interconnection Procedures (LGIP) and pro forma Large Generator Interconnection Agreement (LGIA) for generators larger than 20 megawatts. In addition, it has been more than seven years since FERC addressed interconnection queuing practices. With that backdrop, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has filed a Petition requesting FERC to initiate a rulemaking and revise the LGIP and LGIA. AWEA asserts that circumstances have changed in ways that FERC could not have foreseen and declared that the “time is ripe” for FERC to implement regulatory and policy changes to address “unduly discriminatory and unreasonable barriers to generator market access that inhibit the development of electric generation”. A copy of the AWEA Petition may be found here.
AWEA’s Request To Modify the LGIP and LGIA. AWEA stressed that interconnection requests often result in “complex, time consuming technical disputes about interconnection feasibility, cost, and cost responsibility” and that the resultant delay in processing interconnection requests undermines the ability of new generators to compete. Moreover, delays and inaccuracies in individual interconnection studies and lack of accurate and timely information for interconnection customers not only stall interconnection but can result in viable projects never being developed. AWEA also contended that generators that are unsuccessful in securing a timely, cost-effective interconnection generally do not consider the Section 206 compliant process as a practical method to resolve these issues.
As such, AWEA requested FERC to adopt reforms that would add more certainty to regulatory and administrative treatment in the interconnection process. AWEA proposed specific changes to the pro forma LGIP and LGIA that fall into the following four general categories:
Parties in Support. Numerous parties have intervened and filed comments with FERC in support of AWEA’s efforts to modify the LGIP and LGIA. For example, in addition to many wind project developers, wind generation owners, wind turbine manufacturers – various renewable energy developers and associations – including seven Public Interest Organizations, the Solar Energy Industries Association and several solar project developers have filed in support of AWEA’s Petition.
Parties Opposed to Rulemaking. Numerous other parties have filed interventions and comments with FERC opposing AWEA’s Petition. Entities in that camp include: several utilities and the following six independent system operators: the California Independent System Operator Corporation (CAISO), ISO New England Inc. (ISO-NE), the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (MISO), the New York Independent System Operator, Inc. (NYISO), PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (PJM) and the Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (SPP). These ISOs have requested FERC to reject the Petition and direct AWEA and its members to address their interconnection concerns by participating in a regional stakeholder processes.
All Parties Await FERC’s Response. All interested parties await FERC’s response to AWEA’s request to initiate a notice of proposed rulemaking to revise the pro forma LGIP and LGIA. FERC has often initiated a technical conference before conducting a proposed rulemaking in similar situations. AWEA has asserted that it would support a technical conference approach if FERC believes such a conference would aid its decision-making process.
 Standardization of Generator Interconnection Agreements and Procedures, (“Order No. 2003”), FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,146 (2003), order on reh’g, (“Order No. 2003-A”), FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,160, order on reh’g, (“Order No. 2003-B”), FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,171 (2004), order on reh’g, (“Order No. 2003-C”), FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,190 (2005), aff’d sub nom. Nat’l Ass’n of Regulatory Util. Comm’rs v. FERC, 475 F.3d 1277 (D.C. Cir. 2007), cert. denied, 552 U.S. 1230, (Feb. 25, 2008).
 Order on Technical Conference, 122 FERC ¶ 61,252 (2008).
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