FERC okays change for Mesquite Solar interconnect ownership

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on April 24 approved a request by Mesquite Solar 1 LLC related to the ownership of the interconnection facilities it now uses and future solar projects that an affiliate will develop.

On March 24, Mesquite Solar requested approval for the transfer of an undivided interest in certain generation interconnection facilities to its affiliate SEP II LLCMesquite Solar is an exempt wholesale generator with market-based rate authority.

Mesquite Solar is jointly owned in equal shares by subsidiaries of Sempra Energy and Consolidated Edison. Mesquite Solar owns and operates a solar photovoltaic facility (the Mesquite Solar Facility) located near Arlington, Ariz., with a capacity of 165 MW. The output of the Mesquite Solar Facility is fully committed under a long-term power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric.

The Mesquite Solar Facility is the first phase of a larger solar photovoltaic development with a full capacity of 700 MW, planned by subsidiaries of Sempra Energy. The remaining 535 MW (i.e., the full capacity of the development of 700 MW less the 165-MW capacity of the Mesquite Solar Facility) is referred to as the “Future Phases.”

The Mesquite Solar Facility is interconnected to the grid at the Hassayampa Switchyard by means of its collector substation and a 230-kV generation-tie line approximately four miles in length (Mesquite Solar Generator-tie Facilities), which in turn connect to certain shared interconnection facilities (Shared Switchyard Facilities) that Mesquite Solar owns as a tenant-in common with its affiliate Mesquite Power LLC, and with The Salt River Project Agricultural and Improvement District (SRP). The Shared Switchyard Facilities serve as the connection to the Hassayampa Switchyard.

The Mesquite Solar Facility is located in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) market.

SEP II, a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of Sempra Energy, will develop the Future Phases, but it does not currently own or control transmission or generating facilities. The now-approved transaction will enable SEP II to own a share of the Interconnection Facilities so it can interconnect one or more Future Phases to the Hassayampa Switchyard, thereby eliminating the need to build costly and redundant interconnection facilities to accomplish the same purpose.

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.