Brayton Point, Norwalk Harbor featured in ISO-NE retirement list

The coal-fired Brayton Point plant in Massachusetts, which owner Energy Capital Partners recently said it would shut in 2017 after failing to clear its capacity in the ISO New England market, figures heavily into an ISO-NE list of planned power plant retirements.

On Nov. 5, ISO-NE filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission a heavily redacted report on the Forward Capacity Market for the 2017-2018 Capacity Commitment Period.

In the redacted report, there is among other things a list of power plants subject to a Non-Price Retirement Request. That is a binding request by the generating company to retire the capacity of a resource that supersedes any prior de-list bid for the same Capacity Commitment Period. Approval of Non-Price Retirement Requests is subject to reliability review under the ISO-NE tariff. In total, 98 existing resources submitted Non-Price Retirement Requests.

Included in the list as pending retirement requests are Brayton Point Unit 1 (239 MW), Unit 2 (239 MW), Unit 3 (612 MW) and Unit 4 (435 MW), plus the Brayton Diesels 1-4 (8 MW). Brayton Point is an approximately 1,544-MW facility consisting of three coal-fired units (Units 1-3), one gas/oil-fired steam unit (Unit 4) and four small diesel-fired units located in Somerset, Mass.

There are a number of small generating units on the retirement list in the pending category. Other, large unit examples from that pending list are Norwalk Harbor Unit 1 (162 MW) and Unit 2 (168). Lee Davis, the President of NRG Energy’s (NYSE: NRG) East Region, in Sept. 10 testimony filed at FERC, blamed the “poor design” of the ISO-NE Forward Capacity Market for NRG’s decision to deactivate the Norwalk Harbor station. This oil-fired facility is the same type of resource that ISO-NE said it needs to reliably operate the system during periods of natural gas constraints, he noted.

In the accepted retirement category from the ISO-NE list is the 604-MW Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. Entergy (NYSE: ETR) said Aug. 27 that it would retire Vermont Yankee in 2014.

A list of new generating resources was redacted from the Nov. 5 filing. Overall, for the eighth FCA, 61 new projects, totaling 2,126 MW and 35,877 MW of existing resources will be competing to provide 33,855 MW, after accounting for Hydro Quebec Interconnection Capability Credits (HQICCs), to the New England control area for the 2017-2018 Capacity Commitment Period.

ISO-NE plans to conduct, pending FERC action, the eighth Forward Capacity Auction (FCA), which will be held beginning on Feb. 3, 2014, and will procure the needed capacity for the six-state New England Control Area for the 2017-2018 Capacity Commitment Period.

ISO-NE rejected some new capacity due to transmission issues

Another category in the filing is “Rejected New Resources.” The ISO undertook a detailed analysis of each project to see whether it met all of the qualification criteria for the eighth FCA. This analysis involved a review of the interconnection of the resource and associated transmission upgrades.

New resources rejected due to an overlapping interconnection impact analysis include:

  • Exelon Generation Co. LLC – The Everett Peaker 1 project requested to be qualified with a summer Qualified Capacity of 194.800 MW and a requested winter Qualified Capacity of 205.100 MW in the NEMA/Boston Load Zone. The initial interconnection analysis, including the analysis of overlapping interconnection impacts, determined that several transmission elements would be overloaded after the addition of the Everett Peaker 1 project. The ISO has determined that the upgrades associated with the transmission project cannot be reasonably expected to be completed by the start of the 2017-2018 Capacity Commitment Period.
  • CPV Towantic LLC – The CPV Towantic Energy Center project requested to be qualified with a summer Qualified Capacity of 699.1 MW and a requested winter Qualified Capacity of 756.9 MW in the Connecticut Load Zone. The initial interconnection analysis, including the analysis of overlapping interconnection impacts, found that several transmission lines would be overloaded after the addition of this project. The ISO has determined that the upgrades associated with the transmission project cannot be reasonably expected to be completed by the start of the 2017-2018 Capacity Commitment Period.
  • Constellation New Energy – Constellation New Energy requested qualification of a Demand Response Capacity Resource project in the Bangor Hydro Dispatch Zone with a proposed capacity of 3.78 MW. The ISO denied this project based on an overlapping impact analysis. The overlapping impact analysis determined that, in the Bangor Hydro Dispatch Zone, no new resource could deliver capacity from the Bangor Hydro Dispatch Zone to the Maine Load Zone because of violation on the Orrington South Interface.
  • Verso Maine Energy LLC – Verso Maine Energy requested qualification a Demand Response Capacity Resource project in the Bangor Hydro Dispatch Zone with a proposed capacity of 43.2 MW. The ISO denied this project based on an overlapping impact analysis. The overlapping impact analysis determined that, in the Bangor Hydro Dispatch Zone, no new Resource could deliver capacity from the Bangor Hydro Dispatch Zone to the Maine Load Zone because of violation on the Orrington South Interface.
  • New Resource Projects in Maine – Several new resource projects in Maine were not qualified because the overlapping interconnection impact analysis determined that the addition of the projects would overload the Orrington South interface. Resources that are not qualified to participate in the Forward Capacity Market may still be built and operated in the energy and other ancillary markets. In fact, several of the resources that have not been qualified for the FCA because of the Orrington South interface constraint, have nonetheless built their projects and are providing energy (but not capacity) to the ISO Control Area, the filing noted.
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.