Binghamton seeks FERC approval related to N.Y. plant restart

Binghamton BOP LLC, which is working on reviving a power plant in New York State, on Oct. 1 filed at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission its proposed market-based rate tariff, under which it plans to make wholesale sales of capacity, energy, and ancillary services.

Binghamton BOP is developing an approximately 47.7 MW (nameplate) gas-fired facility located in the Northeast Region which was retired in 2012 by its previous owner, Standard Binghamton LLC. The company intends to be able to bid into the New York Independent System Operator’s January 2015 capacity market, which will require that the facility satisfy the NYISO’s test for Demonstrated Maximum Net Capability (DMNC) in December 2014.

The company said it plans to complete its work refurbishing the facility to enable it to commence generating test power into the NYISO grid by Dec. 1, 2014, so that it can demonstrate its ability to satisfy the DMNC in a timely manner. Accordingly, it asked that the commission issue an order no later than Nov. 30 accepting its proposed tariff.

This 47.7-MW facility is comprised of an LM 5000 combustion gas turbine generator. It is located in Binghamton, New York, and the land upon which the facility is located is owned by Binghamton Land LLC, an affiliated company.

Binghamton BOP is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wellhead Equipment Leasing LLC, which in turn is indirectly owned by Harold E. Dittmer, Judith K. Dittmer and several Dittmer family trusts. These parties own, operate, and develop gas-fired power projects. As a result, Binghamton BOP is affiliated with these regulated entities:

  • Chula Vista Energy Center LLC owns and operates a 44.5 MW (nameplate) gas-fired plant located in Chula Vista, California. The facility currently can only operate reliably at about 35.5 MW. CVEC currently sells the generating capability of the facility to W Power LLC under a Resource Adequacy Confirmation agreement. For calendar year 2015, CVEC will sell the generating capability to Wellhead Power eXchange under a Resource Adequacy Confirmation agreement. CVEC has approximately 9.0 MW of uncommitted capacity;
  • Delano Energy Center LLC (f/k/a Wellhead Power Delano LLC) owns and operates a 49 MW (net) natural gas-fired facility which is comprised of an LM5000 combustion turbine generator set and heat recovery steam generator. The facility is located near Delano, California. Delano currently sells its output to Southern California Edison pursuant to a long-term power purchase agreement.
  • El Cajon Energy LLC owns and operates a 49.5 MW (gross) gas-fired plant located in El Cajon, California. ECE currently sells power to San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) under a long term power purchase and tolling agreement;
  • Escondido Energy Center LLC owns and operates a 48.7 MW (maximum output) gas-fired plant located in Escondido, California. EEC currently sells all of the generating capability to SDG&E under a long term power purchase and tolling agreement.
  • Fresno Cogeneration Partners LP owns and operates two natural gas-fired facilities located near San Joaquin in Fresno County, California; a 21.3-MW (gross) gas-fired peaking facility and a 54-MW (gross) gas-fired combined cycle facility. From Oct. 1, 2014, through Dec. 31, 2015, WPX will purchase 20 MW of the output of the peaking facility under a Resource Adequacy confirmation. For the combined cycle facility, 33 MW is sold to Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) under a long-term deal, and 17.5 MW is sold to WPX under a multi-year power purchase agreement. Fresno Cogen has about 4.8 MW of uncommitted capacity.
  • Wellhead Power Gates LLC has market-based rate authorization for a 46.55-MW (gross) gas-fired plant located in Huron, California. WPG currently does not have any operating generating capacity and the site is being evaluated for a repower.
  • Wellhead Power Panoche LLC owns and operates a 49.97 MW (net) gas-fired plant located in Firebaugh, California. Through November 2014, WPX is purchasing 49.97 MW from the facility. For calendar year 2015, all of the generating capability will be sold to WPX under a purchase agreement.
  • Yuba City Cogeneration Partners LP owns and operates a 49.76 MW (net) natural gas-fired topping-cycle cogen located in Yuba City, California. YCC sells its output to PG&E under a long-term power purchase agreement.
  • Wellhead Power eXchange (WPX) is a power marketer that does not own any power generation facilities. WPX currently has agreements to purchase the generating capability from facilities as noted above which WPX then sells under Resource Adequacy deals as follows: to Shell in the amount of 69.97 MW from Oct. 1, 2014, to Nov. 11, 2014, and 20 MW from Nov. 1, 2014, to Dec. 31, 2014; to Exelon Generation Co. LLC in the amount of 17.5 MW through Dec. 31, 2014; and to Exelon in the amount of 122.97 MW (in aggregate) for calendar year 2015. 

A company contact is: Douglas Davie, Vice President, Wellhead Electric Co. Inc., 650 Bercut Dr., Suite C, Sacramento, CA 95811, Phone: (916) 447-5171, Fax: (916) 447-7602, E-mail: ddavie@wellhead.com.

Company also seeking New York PSC approval for revived power plant

Binghamton BOP applied Aug. 22 at the New York State Public Service Commission for needed approvals for this same power plant revival. The facility was retired in 2012, but now Binghamton BOP has determined that market conditions justify the addition of new generating facilities in New York. So it plans to commence operations at the facility later this year.

Binghamton BOP is asking that the commission grant it: a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity; and a lightened regulatory regime similar to that provided to other merchant owners of generating facilities.

The company told the PSC that its affiliated fleet consists of nine power plants in California and one in Oregon. It is also developing a 624-MW gas-fired combined cycle facility in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Binghamton facility has a nameplate rating of 47.7 MW. Before it was retired, it was capable of operating on natural gas or fuel oil. Binghamton BOP intends to operate it on natural gas, but said it will preserve the option to use fuel oil.

Binghamton BOP acquired the facility from Standard Binghamton LLC in 2012. The facility was retired by Standard Binghamton prior to consummating the transaction. Upon acquisition of the facility, Binghamton BOP removed the gas and power turbine equipment. Because the future plans for the facility were uncertain, the company maintained the remainder of the equipment on-site in a protective lay-up status. On-site personnel have performed weekly maintenance activities to preserve the equipment, and outside technical consultants conducted periodic inspections to assess ongoing equipment condition and viability. The gas turbine was maintained in a similar status, but at a Wellhead-owned location in California.

The gas turbine at the facility was an LM 5000 unit manufactured by General Electric. Wellhead intends to reinstall an LM 5000 unit – either the same turbine that was removed or an identical model. The power turbine will be replaced with the same model that was formerly used. Once the facility is restored to service, its heat input and power production ratings should be the same as they were prior to 2012.

“Restarting the Facility is in the public interest,” the company told the New York commission. “Its production of electricity will produce very low emissions, and the LM 5000 technology has a long record of reliability. Binghamton BOP anticipates that the Facility will improve grid stability and can provide local voltage support, if needed. Environmentally, the Facility formerly had not been considered a major source of air emissions under the applicable Clean Air Act regulations, and the re-use of the same equipment will not change its emissions profile.”

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.