ColumbiaGrid partners close to completing Order 1000 compliance

With the filing deadline for Order 1000 regional compliance filings about three months away, officials at ColumbiaGrid are confident that the organization will have the necessary amendments to its planning and expansion functional agreement (PEFA) ready to file with FERC.

“We are making great progress on being able to have all the PEFA parties to ColumbiaGrid participate in a timely intraregional compliance filing in October,” project coordinator Kristi Wallis told ColumbiaGrid’s board of directors meeting on Aug. 15. In addition, she said, “We are gearing up to get started on the interregional piece of it,”

For Order 1000 purposes, the amendments define ColumbiaGrid’s planning region as the transmission systems operated or proposed to be operated in the regional interconnected systems. Projects in a neighboring planning region, as that term is used in Order 1000, are to be considered for interregional projects for the purposes of complying with the order, according to the document.

The proposed amendments, however, are not without their critics. In fact, Wallis told the board, “There is one group that is uncomfortable with where the group is going and likely will not sign” the final agreement.”

In comments submitted July 16, ColumbiaGrid member LS Power said it has “significant legal concerns that the current direction of the ColumbiaGrid efforts will not result in an Order 1000 compliance planning or cost allocation process.”

Other parties, including the Northwest Energy Coalition and the Renewable Northwest Project, submitted extensive comments on the draft amendments that addressed a range of issues, including the important issue of cost allocation.

“We have had a lot of good stakeholder input and participation. The parties have tried to adopt and incorporate their concerns,” Wallis said.

The group anticipates that a final set of PEFA amendments will be sent to PEFA members for signatures shortly. Subsequently, the group plans to have them executed before ColubiaGrid’s compliance filing deadline, which was referred to during the meeting as Oct. 19. The deadline for entities that have not been granted an extension is Oct. 11.

Next, the group will turn its energies toward interregional compliance.

PEFA parties will meet starting next week to begin discussions of the interregional compliance filing process, what the parties’ goals are, and what they are trying to accomplish.

Wallis said there have been conversations between PEFA parties, ColumbiaGrid, and the California ISO about how the parties might approach the interregional aspects of Order 1000 compliance.

“People want to show the strength of the West,” she said. “I think people are exploring the possibility of a single agreement among all those entities about what West interregional Order 1000 compliance would look like, including planning and cost allocation.”

The group’s progress toward meeting what has been called an “aggressive timeline” impressed ColumbiaGrid leadership.

“At the beginning of the year, it didn’t seem like huge changes would be required to develop an intraregional compliance filing, but it turned into being quite an effort … so it’s heartening to see it happening,” Jeff Miller, vice president of planning for ColumbiaGrid, said. “It’s pretty clear we’re going to make it.”