FERC accepts market authority for wind company out of California

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Jan. 7 accepted a Nov. 21 filing by San Gorgonio Westwinds II LLC of a market-based rate tariff, needed since its four small wind farms in California over the next year will lose their power supply contracts and will have to sell power on the open market.

The company said it owns four wind facilities in Riverside County, California, each of which is a qualifying facility (QF) under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978. All of the output from the facilities is sold under long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) that were in effect as of March 2006. However, one of the existing PPAs will expire on Jan. 10, 2015, at which point the energy and capacity previously sold under that PPA will be sold on a merchant basis into the wholesale market. The remaining three PPAs will expire over the course of 2015.

While each individual facility is 20 MW or less, the facilities are located within one mile of each other and their aggregate capacity exceeds 20 MW. The company said it is conservatively filing for market-based rate authority in light of the commission’s size aggregation rule for affiliated small power production QFs that use the same energy source and are located within one mile of each other. The facilities have an aggregate capacity of 43.4 MW. As a result, they may no longer be eligible for the exemption from rate regulation as the PPAs expire. In order to allow the company to continue to sell energy, capacity, and ancillary services without interruption following expiration of the first PPA on Jan. 10, 2015, it requested that the commission grant expedited treatment for this petition and issue an order on or before Jan. 9, 2015. The commission made that deadline with the Jan. 7 order.

The four facilities are: the Altech III Project; Phoenix Project; San Jacinto Project; and the Windustries Project. The facilities are interconnected to the transmission system owned by Southern California Edison (SCE) and operated by the California Independent System Operator. The entire output of each facility currently is committed to SCE under a long-term PPA.

The company is owned by various entities, including ArcLight and Terra-Gen Power affiliates.

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.