Golden Spread seeks FERC waivers for new gas-fired plant

Golden Spread Electric Cooperative and Sharyland Utilities LP filed a July 3 petition at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission over the interconnection of and distribution of electricity from a new gas-fired power plant.

They want FERC to disclaim jurisdiction over: transmission interconnection facilities that would deliver power from the Antelope Elk Energy Center located entirely within the State of Texas to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid; and transmission and sales of energy over these facilities.

The interconnection point of the new facilities with ERCOT is located on existing transmission facilities built and operated by Sharyland under the Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) initiative within the State of Texas, and for which the commission already disclaimed jurisdiction in 2009.

In conjunction with the disclaimer of jurisdiction and consistent with commission precedent, Golden Spread and Sharyland request that the commission declare that the utilities in ERCOT and Market Participants that are not currently public utilities under the Federal Power Act (FPA) will not become public utilities as a result of the interconnection of the Antelope Elk Energy Center with the ERCOT grid.

They also asked that the commission confirm, based on the specific facts and circumstances here, that Golden Spread’s operation of some of the proposed generation resources at the Antelope Elk Energy Center as switchable generation resources between the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) and ERCOT markets has no impact on the jurisdictional determination requested in this proceeding.

The future configuration of the Antelope Elk Energy Center scheduled to occur in 2016 provides for the synchronization of switchable generation resources at the Antelope Elk Energy Center to either the SPP or ERCOT grid but never to both simultaneously. The proposed design of Golden Spread’s generator interconnection facilities at the Antelope Elk Energy Center is such that a generator may be synchronized only to one grid at a time.

“Golden Spread has carefully vetted its proposed operation of the facility with both SPP and ERCOT so as to ensure the reliable operation of the facility in accordance with SPP and ERCOT market rules and protocols, the explicit requirements of its ERCOT standard generator interconnection agreement with Sharyland (‘ERCOT SGIA’), ERCOT’s Standard Form Market Participant Agreement, and Public Utility Commission of Texas (‘PUCT’) rules,” said the application. “Also, SPP and ERCOT have separately developed an emergency coordination agreement to address how they will coordinate the dispatch of switchable generation resources in one region or the other to address emergency conditions. This coordination will allow a Golden Spread switchable generation resource to be dispatched in the region where it is needed to address an emergency condition. Thus, Golden Spread’s switchable generation resources and the Transmission Interconnection Facilities will directly benefit reliability.”

Plan is to add three Elk units to existing Antelope plant

The planned Antelope Elk Energy Center will be built on a 122-acre site north of the City of Abernathy in Hale County, Texas, and approximately 20 miles north of Lubbock.

The existing Antelope Generating Station is a 168.12-MW facility consisting of eighteen 9.34-MW natural gas-fired Wärtsilä reciprocating engine generators. This facility was placed in commercial operation in 2011, and is currently interconnected to the SPP grid and used by Golden Spread as a designated network resource. These units are quick-start generators with the capability to reach full output in a variety of configurations in approximately five minutes and thus, are perfectly suited to support intermittent wind generation in the region. Golden Spread currently plans to divide Antelope into three units consisting of blocks of six reciprocating engines and generators each (each unit rated at approximately 56 MW).

The new “Elk” part of this complex is a planned 606-MW facility consisting of three General Electric 7FA 5-Series natural gas-fired combustion turbines rated at 202 MW each (winter rating). Golden Spread has already purchased these three GE turbines and currently plans to complete construction and bring Unit 1 to commercial operation in SPP in June 2015 and Units 2 and 3 to commercial operation in ERCOT in June 2016.

The site can also accommodate a fourth 202-MW GE 7FA 5-Series turbine in the future (Unit 4), bringing the total potential capability of the Elk part of the plant to 808 MW and the total Antelope Elk Energy Center to 976.12 MW. Like Antelope, the Elk combustion turbines are well-suited to support wind generation, capable of ramping up quickly to 70% of maximum output in approximately ten minutes and full output in about eleven minutes.

“The Antelope Elk Energy Center will be part of Golden Spread’s growing fleet of new natural gas and wind generators and purchased power resources that, by no later than 2019, will enable Golden Spread to be completely independent of any coal-fired generating resources,” the application noted. “Assuming the three Elk units are constructed, in 2019 Golden Spread’s owned and purchased power generation portfolio on a capacity basis will be 89% natural gas, none of which will be older than 20 years old, and 11% wind.”

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.