FERC rejects rehearing requests for PaTu wind farm issues

The members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on June 18 rejected Feb. 23 rehearing bids from PáTu Wind Farm LLC, Portland General Electric and Community Renewable Energy Association (CREA) of a Jan. 22 commission order issued in response to PáTu’s complaint against Portland General.

PáTu is a 9-MW (net) wind farm located in Sherman County, Oregon. PáTu self-certified as a qualifying facility (QF). PáTu is interconnected to Wasco Electric Cooperative, Inc and has a point-to-point transmission service agreement with Wasco for transmission from PáTu’s point of interconnection with Wasco to the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) at BPA’s DeMoss Substation. PáTu also has a point-to-point transmission service agreement with BPA for transmission from BPA’s DeMoss Substation to Portland General, a vertically-integrated electric utility providing electric service in the State of Oregon, with the point of delivery at Portland General’s Troutdale Substation.

In 2010, PáTu and Portland General entered into the Oregon Public Utilities Commission’s standard contract under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) for off-system, intermittent-resource QFs less than or equal to 10 MW nameplate capacity. PáTu states that its wind farm began commercial operation and began selling output under the Standard Contract in December 2010.

In its complaint, PáTu stated that, when it entered into the Standard Contract, the Oregon Commission required that wind QFs with a nameplate capacity of 10 MW or less receive long-term, standard avoided cost rates without a deduction for wind integration costs and without purchasing wind balancing services. Therefore, PáTu stated that small wind QFs, such as PáTu, are not subject to wind integration charges, and the Standard Contract does not require PáTu to contract with the transmission provider, or any other third party, to secure wind integration services. PáTu also stated that, consistent with its PURPA rights, the Standard Contract establishes PáTu’s right to sell its entire Net Output to Portland General.

In the Jan. 22 order, the commission partially granted the complaint by ordering Portland General to accept PáTu’s entire net output delivered to the Portland General balancing authority area and to do so at avoided cost rates. The commission found that the Standard Contract does not govern or restrict the manner by which PáTu’s output is transmitted and delivered to Portland General’s Troutman Substation and, given that PáTu and BPA are willing to deliver the entire net output to Portland General using dynamic scheduling, the Standard Contract does not preclude the ability to do that or Portland General’s obligation to purchase PáTu’s entire net output through those means. The commission dismissed portions of the complaint relating to 15-minute scheduling, Standards of Conduct violations, and monetary reparations.

PáTu then sought clarification and rehearing of the Jan. 22 order on two points: Portland General’s cooperation on dynamic scheduling; and Portland General’s conditioning dynamic scheduling on PáTu’s taking wind integration services.

CREA argued that clarification of the Jan. 22 order is necessary because Portland General has made public statements that it is already in compliance with the order.

Portland General requested clarification of the Jan. 22 order because it does not understand why the commission would order Portland General to accept PáTu’s entire net output delivered to Portland General when it has purchased, and will continue to purchase, all of the energy generated by PáTu and delivered to Portland General in accordance with the Standard Contract. 

FERC on June 18 rejected all three rehearing/clarification requests.

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.