Missouri River Energy Services asks for break on QF requirement

The Missouri Basin Municipal Power Agency, d/b/a Missouri River Energy Services (MRES), on July 23 asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for relief from a requirement to buy power from a planned 20-MW wind farm.

MRES filed the request on behalf of itself and 24 of its members. They want relief from a requirement under Section 210 of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) and under FERC’s implementing regulations to enter into new contracts or obligations to purchase energy and capacity made available by qualifying facilities (QFs) that have a net capacity greater than 20 MW and are located within the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) area.

On Sept. 1, 2012, MRES received a letter from Ecos Energy LLC informing MRES that Ecos plans to construct a 20-MW wind facility near Garvin, Minn. The facility will interconnect with Xcel Energy subsidiary Northern States Power at a new substation described in the G520 Large Generator Interconnection Agreement.

In its September 2012 letter, Ecos indicated that it would like to negotiate a power purchase agreement with MRES for sale of power from the proposed facility. The facility was self-certified as a QF on Feb. 15, 2011. Except for the Garvin Wind project, MRES said it knows of no other potentially affected QFs.

“MRES is not seeking relief from its PURPA Purchase Obligation with respect to QFs in the service territory of MRES members located outside the MISO footprint,” said the July 23 petition. “As explained herein, MRES satisfies the requirements of PURPA Section 210(m), as implemented through 18 C.F.R. §§ 292.309 and 292.310, and should be relieved of its PURPA Purchase Obligation within MISO with respect to QFs larger than 20 MW in the Filing Members’ service territories or interconnected to MRES’s transmission system, effective July 23, 2013, the date of this Application.”

MRES noted that it has power purchase agreements for the output of four wind projects. That includes 18.7 MW from the Marshall Wind Project located near Marshall, Minn., 20 MW from the Odin Wind Project located near Odin, Minn., 40 MW from the Rugby Wind Project located near Rugby, N.D., and 3.3 MW from the Hancock Wind Project located near Britt, Iowa.

MRES said it recognizes that this application is the first request to terminate a PURPA purchase obligation by an entity that is not a major transmission owner and whose purchase obligation does not arise from direct interconnection with a QF. However, the termination of this obligation of MRES would be consistent with similar requests submitted by other MISO transmission owners, including but not limited to Otter Tail Power, ALLETE, Xcel Energy, Alliant Energy, Duke Energy and MDU Resources Group.

“Each of these entities relied on the rebuttable presumption set forth in Section 292.309(e) that MISO provides QFs larger than 20 MW with nondiscriminatory access to independently administered, auction-based day ahead and real-time markets for sale of electric energy, and to wholesale markets for long-term sales of capacity and electric energy,” MRES added. “Consistent with this precedent, pursuant to Sections 292.309(a) and (e), MRES similarly should be relieved from its PURPA Purchase Obligation within MISO with respect to QFs larger than 20 MW in the service territory of the Filing Members or interconnected to MRES’s transmission system.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.