FERC orders BPA to revise OATT discriminating against wind generators

FERC on Dec. 7 ordered the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) to file revisions to its open access transmission tariff to provide transmission service on conditions comparable to those it gives itself.

“We find that Bonneville’s Environmental Redispatch Policy results in noncomparable transmission service that unfairly treats non-federal generating resources connected to Bonneville’s transmission system,” FERC said in the order.

A coalition of wind energy facility owners in June filed with FERC a complaint over a policy BPA adopted in May that allowed it to curtail non-federal generators and use their firm transmission rights without compensation.

FERC exercised authority over BPA, an energy marketing agency within the U.S. Department of Energy, under section 211A of the Federal Power Act. FERC’s order represents an action it said was rare and not taken lightly but which underscores the importance of open access transmission.

“As Congress has recognized, open access is a fundamental tenet of electricity markets.” FERC said in the order. “Clear and firm principles on open access give industry the confidence to invest in new generation resources and support the construction of associated transmission necessary to meet future needs. FPA section 211A is one statutory tool that Congress provided to ensure open access to transmission service at comparable and not unduly discriminatory or preferential rates, terms, and conditions.”

FERC said it recognized BPA’s efforts to balance competing obligations but that its policy “significantly diminishes open access to transmission.”

BPA must file a revised OATT within 90 days. BPA may not extend its current or implement a new Environmental Redispatch Policy that results in noncomparable transmission service, FERC said.

FERC did not specify the precise terms and conditions that must be set forth in BPA’s OATT in order to remedy the noncomparable service resulting from its policy, saying only that BPA must provide for service on terms and conditions comparable to those BPA provides itself.

About Rosy Lum 525 Articles
Rosy Lum, Analyst for TransmissionHub, has been covering the U.S. energy industry since 2007. She began her career in energy journalism at SNL Financial, for which she established a New York news desk. She covered topics ranging from energy finance and renewable policies and incentives, to master limited partnerships and ETFs. Thereafter, she honed her energy and utility focus at the Financial Times' dealReporter, where she covered and broke oil and gas and utility mergers and acquisitions.