Revised interconnect deal means faster start for 500-MW solar project

Southern California Edison (SCE) filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Oct. 16 an amendment to an interconnection agreement that will allow a much quicker start for the 500-MW Genesis McCoy Solar Project of NextEra Desert Center Blythe LLC.

Under a 2011 Large Generator Interconnection Agreement (LGIA), SCE, NextEra Desert Center and the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) agreed to various terms, including a transmission path that would only allow Full Capacity Deliverability Status for the project in early 2019, at the earliest.

But then NextEra Desert Center asked for some interim grid fixes that would push that full capacity status up to mid 2013. The fixes include the temporary installation of series reactor banks on SCE’s four existing 220 kV transmission lines out of the Devers substation. These fixes would be in place until the permanent grid upgrades are completed. The amended LGIA includes costs and charges for these temporary fixes.

CAISO on Oct. 8 filed with the FERC an amendment to a non-conforming LGIA that covers this same situation. The LGIA is among the CAISO, SCE and NextEra and relates to the Genesis McCoy Solar Project. The NextEra Desert Center LGIA specifies, among other things, the terms and conditions under which the ISO and SCE will interconnect the Genesis McCoy Solar Project to SCE’s planned Colorado River 500/220 kV Substation.

When the Genesis McCoy Solar Project interconnection studies identified the need for the so-called West of Devers Upgrades, SCE estimated that the transmission project would take 84 months to complete with an in-service date of 2017. Subsequent events regarding a right of way issue that was recently resolved have caused SCE to revise its time estimate for completing the West of Devers Upgrades to 2019.

Based on this timeframe, NextEra Desert Center and other interconnection customers who require the West of Devers Upgrades for full capacity deliverability service made a request in late 2010 that the ISO and SCE explore options for earlier deliverability. The ISO and SCE then identified interim upgrades, consisting primarily of series reactors that could act as a temporary mechanism to increase the delivery capability of the West of Devers path by about 1,050 MW pending the completion of the permanent West of Devers Upgrades.

Once the Interim WOD Upgrades option was identified, the ISO and SCE met with all of the development companies that owned all of the generation projects that could potentially benefit from them. Based on the ISO’s assessment of the generation projects that were in the ISO interconnection queue at the time of the discussions in mid-2011, the ISO concluded at the time that only three projects could potentially benefit from the Interim WOD Upgrades:

  • the Genesis McCoy Solar Project, being developed by NextEra Desert Center;
  • the Blythe Solar Energy Center LLC project, originally being developed by Palo Verde Solar II LLC, subsequently purchased in bankruptcy by NextEra; and
  • the Desert Center Solar 1 Project, being developed by NRG Solar Desert Center LLC.
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.