Alaska Power seeks FERC help in developing Alaska hydro project

Alaska Power & Telephone Co. (AP&T) d/b/a Ketchikan Electric Corp., in its capacity as agent for the Mahoney Lake Hydroelectric Project, a self-certified qualifying facility (QF), filed an enforcement request on Oct. 29 at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

It wants enforcement of the commission’s Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) regulations against the Southeast Alaska Power Agency (SEAPA). It said that SEAPA has not made available for inspection data from which avoided costs may be derived as required by commission rules, nor produced avoided cost data in response to AP&T’s repeated requests as required by commission rules. Accordingly, AP&T asks the commission to issue an order instructing SEAPA to produce the avoided cost data requested, or in the alternative, to initiate an enforcement action against SEAPA for failure to implement regulations for making avoided cost data available.

The Mahoney Lake Project is a FERC-licensed, but not yet constructed, 9.6-MW hydroelectric project located on Upper Mahoney Lake and Upper Mahoney Creek, near the Community of Ketchikan in southeast Alaska. The City of Saxman, Alaska, was issued an original license to construct, operate, and maintain the Mahoney Lake Project in 1998.

“The Mahoney Lake Project is a self-certified QF under PURPA, and stands ready, willing and able to provide power to SEAPA and its members,” said AP&T. “SEAPA and its members in turn, are legally obligated under PURPA to contract to purchase power from the Mahoney Lake Project, as a QF.”

AP&T/KEC is the representative and development agent for the Mahoney Lake Project, on behalf of the City of Saxman. AP&T said it has been authorized to bring this enforcement action on behalf of Mahoney Lake Project.

SEAPA is a joint action agency of the state of Alaska that owns and operates two FERC-licensed hydroelectric facilities, the Swan Lake Hydroelectric Project and the Tyee Lake Hydroelectric Project, from which SEAPA supplies electrical power to its three members, the municipalities of Ketchikan, Petersburg, and Wrangell under terms of a Long Term Power Supply Agreement executed in 2009. Although SEAPA provides electric service to members, as a joint action agency of the state it is not subject to public regulation by either the Regulatory Commission of Alaska or FERC, Alaska Power noted.

Alaska Power said it lately has been trying for get avoided cost data from SEAPA. “By emails dated September 18, 2014 and October 2, 2014, SEAPA’s counsel responded advising that SEAPA was in the process of retaining a consultant to develop an avoided cost model. SEAPA’s counsel also noted that load forecast data for SEAPA and its member utilities could be found in SEAPA’s [January 2013 Request for Offers] and the Alaska Energy Authority’s Southeast Alaska IRP ‘prepared several years ago.’ As of the date of this Petition, SEAPA has not supplied any further information, thereby leaving AP&T no choice but to pursue this enforcement action.”

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.