New grid support deal for 2015 filed with FERC for Edwards coal unit

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator on Jan. 30 asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for approval of an Amended and Restated System Support Resource Agreement with Illinois Power Marketing Co. covering the coal-fired Edwards Unit 1, which lately has been holding on to life through these SSR deals.

Edwards Unit 1 is an approximately 90-MW coal fired steam boiler located in Bartonville, Illinois. AmerenEnergy Resources Generating Co. had submitted an Attachment Y Notice to MISO to retire Edwards 1, effective Dec. 31, 2012. MISO, in collaboration with Ameren Transmission Co., completed an analysis of the retirement of Edwards 1, and MISO notified Ameren of SSR status on Dec. 17, 2012. The analysis concluded that the proposed retirement of Edwards 1 would result in violations of specific applicable Ameren Transmission planning criteria during the summer and shoulder peak load periods until the completion of transmission reinforcements that include the 345kV Maple Ridge-Fargo line and Maple Ridge Substation. As a result, MISO designated Edwards 1 an SSR Unit until such time as appropriate alternatives can be implemented to mitigate reliability issues.

According to the terms of the Original SSR Agreement SSR Agreement, MISO notified Ameren that the SSR designation for Edwards 1 would continue for 2014. On Dec. 2, 2013, Illinois Power Holdings acquired several Ameren Corp. subsidiaries, including AmerenEnergy Resources Generating.

MISO again gave notice (Sept. 25, 2014) that Edwards 1 would be designated for service as a SSR Unit for 2015. MISO began working with to negotiate and develop an appropriate SSR Agreement for 2015. There has been a fight in the meantime at FERC over who pays for the SSR costs and in what amounts. Compensation matters over Edwards 1 remain in litigation, but the commission has determined that compensation under SSR Agreements should “not exceed a resource’s full cost-of-service, including the fixed costs of exiting plant (rather than providing that this compensation must not exceed a resource’s going-forward costs)….” These modifications were recognized in the development of the Second Restated SSR Agreement that is the subject of the Jan. 30 filing.

MISO noted in the Jan. 30 filing: “Section 1.H contains a description of the manner in which compliance for Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (‘MATS’) have been dealt with and will be dealt with during 2015, which is the first year in which MATS requirements could impact operation of Edwards 1. A request for an extension of the MATS deadline in 2015 is cited, along with provisions for dealing with the unexpected situation where the requests extension is not approved. One of those provisions is also contained in Section 3.A(3), which contains an earlier termination provision to deal with the situation where MATS compliance renders Edwards 1 incapable of providing the reliability services for which it was placed on SSR status.”

The filing added: “A number of transmission upgrades were proposed in the MISO Transmission Expansion Plan process to eliminate the issues caused by the unit retirement. The completion date for the final transmission upgrade that will resolve the need for Edwards 1 to be designated as an SSR Unit has been moved up to mid-2016 (previously reported for December 2016). Until this alternative solution is completed, however, Edwards 1 will be required for system reliability, and a SSR Agreement is necessary to ensure continued system reliability.”

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.