FERC rejects waiver for Erie Power, which is reviving a Pennsylvania cogen plant

On April 21, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected a waiver request from Erie Power LLC related to its efforts to revive a cogeneration plant in Pennsylvania.

On Feb. 27, Erie Power submitted a request for a waiver of Section 25.6.2.3.1 of Attachment S to the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT), which requires participants in NYISO’s 2015 Class Year to have received approval of their System Reliability Impact Study from NYISO’s Operating Committee by March 1.

In 2014, Erie Power purchased the North East Cogeneration Plant, a decommissioned facility in North East, Pennsylvania, after the facility had already lost its Capacity Resource Interconnection Service (CRIS) rights. Shortly after acquiring the North East Plant, Erie Power filed a request for waiver of Section 25.9.3.1 of Attachment S3 and Section 30.3.3.1 of Attachment X of the NYISO  OATT (2014 waiver request) with the commission to restore the North East Plant’s CRIS rights. On July 15, 2014, the commission denied Erie Power’s 2014 waiver request, finding that Erie Power knowingly purchased a deactivated plant when the three-year window in the Tariff to reactivate the plant had already expired and failed to justify waiver.

Section 25.6.2.3.1 of Attachment S of the NYISO OATT sets forth the criteria required for a project to be eligible to participate in the Class Year process. Under that section, a project becomes eligible to become a Class Year Project if, on or before the Class Year Start Date, it satisfies two developmental milestones: the Operating Committee has approved the Interconnection Reliability Impact Study for the project; and the regulatory milestone has been satisfied. Erie Power asserted that, for purposes of the 2015 Class Year, it has satisfied all of the criteria except receipt of Operating Committee approval of its System Reliability Impact Study by March 1. Therefore, Erie Power requested waiver of this requirement.

In support of its request for waiver, Erie Power stated that it did everything it could to meet the March 1 deadline, and its inability to do so was due, at least in part, to circumstances beyond its control. Erie Power explained that it commenced the interconnection process, and submitted an interconnection request to NYISO in May 2014, concurrent with its request to FERC to restore its CRIS rights. Erie Power stated that NYISO formally processed its interconnection request in June 2014. Erie Power, NYISO, and National Grid then entered into a tri-party System Reliability Impact Study Agreement in November 2014. Erie Power stated that it was advised by NYISO that the System Reliability Impact Study base cases for the North East Plant were completed on Dec. 18, 2014, and that NYISO anticipated that it would direct its consultants to begin preparing the draft System Reliability Impact Study report on Jan. 7. However, Erie Power stated that it wasn’t until Feb. 13 that NYISO actually directed its consultants to begin preparing the System Reliability Impact Study report.

Erie Power is concerned that, if its procedural waiver request is not granted, it could be years before it has another opportunity to enter a class year interconnection process that would allow it to participate in NYISO’s capacity markets, noting that NYISO’s last completed Class Year process commenced in 2012 and was not completed until 2015. Erie Power contended that the inclusion of North East Plant in NYISO’s markets would aid system reliability, reduce congestion, and benefit National Grid’s customers.

Welch Foods supported Erie Power’s waiver request and urged the commission to grant it. Welch Foods stated that the closure of the North East Plant in 2010 forced its manufacturing plant in North East, Pa., to obtain steam from more costly sources and that expeditious recommencement of operations at the North East Plant resulting from an approval of Erie Power’s waiver request would aid Welch Foods by helping to stabilize and reduce operating costs.

Said the FERC waiver rejection in part: “We find that Erie Power has not demonstrated that its requested waiver is of limited scope. The Commission has granted tariff waivers for limited periods that would result in the inclusion of a project in the requested Class Year when the requesting party already possessed all the necessary approvals and the Commission extended the March 1 deadline to a date certain. … However, Erie Power has not received the necessary Operating Committee approval of its System Reliability Impact Study. Therefore, we cannot determine whether or when Erie Power will be able to satisfy NYISO’s tariff-mandated eligibility requirements; Erie Power acknowledges that it does not know precisely when its System Reliability Impact Study will be presented to the Operating Committee for approval.”

Erie Power owns an 88.2-MW (82-MW nameplate) cogeneration plant in Erie, Pa. Erie Power is owned by Deltec Erie Power HoldingsOzado Power LLCGP Genco LLC and a person, Reno Casimir. The plant had been deactivated in November 2010.

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.