FERC agrees on hands-off approach for Maryland gas-fired project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Nov. 27 agreed with a request by Keys Energy Center LLC for the commission not to exercise jurisdiction over a new gas pipeline that will supply a new, 735-MW power plant the company plans in Maryland.

On July 17, Keys Energy Center had filed a petition for a declaratory order, requesting a determination from the commission that its proposed pipeline will not be subject to the commission’s jurisdiction under the Natural Gas Act (NGA).

Keys was established as a special purpose entity to develop, build, and operate a natural gas-fired plant (the Keys Plant) in Prince George’s County, Md., southeast of Washington, D.C. The Keys Plant will produce a proposed 735 MW.

To transport the necessary natural gas fuel, Keys proposes to construct, own, and operate 7.5 miles of 20-inch pipeline (the Keys Pipeline) originating at its plant and extending south into Charles County, Md., to an interconnection with an existing interstate gas pipeline owned by Dominion Cove Point LNG LP. This interstate pipeline is subject to commission regulation under the NGA.

Keys successfully argued that its pipeline will be dedicated and used solely for purposes of delivering natural gas to the Keys Plant with no deliveries to other end users. Keys will have full ownership and control of the pipeline though Keys has not decided whether to perform operation and maintenance itself or to contract with a third party, possibly an interstate pipeline company, to perform these services. If Dominion becomes the contracted party, Keys intends to include provisions that prohibit Dominion from using the Keys Pipeline to enhance or supplement the operation of Dominion’s jurisdictional interstate pipeline system.

“We conclude that the Keys Pipeline will be a necessary and integral part of the Keys Plant,” FERC ruled. “To the extent that the proposed facility: (1) will sit entirely within the State of Maryland; (2) will be used solely to provide fuel for use and consumption within the Keys Plant to generate electricity; and (3) will not be used by Keys, or by any entity contracting with Keys, to transport natural gas for, or sell natural gas to, any third party, the proposed facility will be nonjurisdictional.”

The Keys Plant will consist of: two combustion turbine generators equipped with dry, low oxides of nitrogen (NOx) combustors; two heat recovery steam generators with duct burners; a single condensing steam turbine generator; a derating surface condenser; a mechanical draft wet cooling tower; a natural gas-fired auxiliary boiler; and associated ancillary equipment. The plant will be interconnected to the Potomac Electric Power transmission line that passes adjacent to the Keys Plant by directly connecting to the 500-kV breaker-and-one-half bus arrangement in the new on-site substation.

Keys has filed for 735 MW of firm capacity under its electrical interconnection request and is in PJM Interconnection Generation Interconnection Request Queue Position X4-035. Keys estimates that its plant and transmission line will be operational in December 2016.

The site for the Keys Plant is within about two miles of the site of a newly-proposed project of Mattawoman Energy LLC, a project affiliate of Panda Power Funds. Mattawoman Energy applied July 19 at the Maryland Public Service Commission for approval of an 859-MW, gas-fired power project to be located about 12 miles southeast of Washington, D.C., in Prince George’s County.

Power from the Mattawoman facility would move to an existing 230-kV line running along Brandywine Road of Potomac Electric Power. For gas supply, this project would be tapped into the existing Dominion Cove Point gas pipeline.

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.