Boundless Energy declines to withdraw project, despite New York PSC’s request

Boundless Energy NE on Jan. 15 told the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) that the PSC should not seek to preclude the company from offering a project and project segments for consideration in the New York ISO (NYISO) process.

That filing stems from the PSC’s Dec. 17, 2015, order in which the PSC determined that there is a transmission need driven by public policy requirements for new 345-kV major electric transmission facilities to cross the Central East and Upstate New York/Southeast New York (UPNY/SENY) interfaces to provide additional transmission capacity to move power from upstate to downstate New York.

In that order, the PSC also made some requests to Boundless and other companies to withdraw certain projects from further consideration. For instance, the PSC said in its order that in Case 13-T-0461, Boundless is requested to withdraw, effective on or before Jan. 15, 2016, the entire application for all its project segments from further consideration in the proceeding (such withdrawals to be effective concurrently in Cases 12-T-0502 and 13-E-0488).

As noted in Boundless’ Jan. 15 filing, the project segments to be withdrawn include:

  • Hurley Avenue to Leeds (reconductor) (P20, P21)
  • Leeds to Pleasant Valley (reconductor) (P20)
  • CPV Tap to Rock Tavern (reconductor) (P20, P21)
  • Roseton to East Fishkill (underground) (P20, P21)

Boundless said: “Boundless respectfully declines to withdraw its project and project segments from consideration for the reasons stated in Boundless’ request for rehearing of the commission’s … order which is being filed today. As stated in that rehearing request, it is the role and responsibility of the NYISO, not the commission, to conduct an open and fully competitive solicitation for any developer to propose solutions to the public policy requirements and make selections based on nondiscriminatory criteria.”

Boundless also said that regarding its pending Article VII application, it requests that the PSC hold in abeyance consideration of that application until the NYISO completes its process under Attachment Y of the NYISO open access transmission tariff (OATT). If the NYISO selects a Boundless project in that process, Boundless will then request that the PSC restart consideration of Boundless’ application under Article VII of the Public Service Law, the company said.

In its Jan. 15 petition filed with the PSC, Boundless said that it seeks rehearing of the PSC’s Dec. 17, 2015, order based upon the “clear errors of law and fact identified in” the petition. The company claimed that the PSC, for instance:

  • Erred as a matter of law and in violation of the State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA) by adopting a portfolio of project proposals as public policy requirements
  • Erred as a matter of law and in violation of Attachment Y of the OATT by adopting a specific portfolio of project proposals to meet the identified public policy requirements
  • Erred as a matter of fact in its assessment of the environmental impacts of the Boundless projects
  • Erred as a matter of fact by adopting three new project fragments

Boundless requested that the PSC grant rehearing and modify its December 2015 order to only identify the public policy requirement that the NYISO should address under Attachment Y of the OATT. After the NYISO fulfills its obligations and determines the project or projects that best meet the NYISO’s tariff’s requirements, the PSC should consider the projects selected by the NYISO under Article VII of the Public Service Law, the company added.

Boundless noted that the PSC based its December 2015 order on a final report by the state Department of Public Service’s trial staff, and includes trial staff’s recommendation that the sponsor of the proposed project identified by trial staff as best meeting “all public policy objectives” be requested to submit the project to the NYISO in response to the expected NYISO solicitation. The PSC also adopted trial staff’s recommendation that other pre-identified developers be given an opportunity to bid “the project,” the company said.

“The commission inappropriately seeks to eliminate the Boundless projects from consideration as a viable transmission solution to identified problems, and requested Boundless and certain other developers to withdraw their projects from the AC Transmission Upgrades Proceedings,” Boundless said.

Boundless said it requests that the PSC correct errors of fact and law in the December 2015 order to reflect properly the public policy requirements that it is authorized to identify under the OATT, rather than seek to dictate specific projects for NYISO consideration in its FERC-required competitive solicitation. Those requirements evolved during the proceeding, as did the PSC staff’s objectives, methods and selection criteria, so as now to seek expansion of both the transmission capacity to move power from upstate New York to downstate and the transmission capacity to move power east from central New York, the company said.

The competitive solicitation process included in the OATT clearly contemplates that the PSC will identify public policy requirements, not to seek to exclude Boundless projects, or any other projects for that matter, from consideration to meet the requirements, Boundless said.

Since 2014, the OATT, which has the force and effect of federal law, makes it the role and responsibility of the NYISO, not the PSC, to conduct an open and fully competitive solicitation for any developer to propose solutions to the public policy requirements and make selections based on nondiscriminatory criteria, Boundless said, adding that the PSC’s role in the public policy requirements process, was approved by FERC as part of the NYISO’s compliance with FERC’s Order 1000.

Boundless claimed that by seeking to pre-select the projects that are eligible for consideration by the NYISO, the PSC goes far beyond the authority FERC approved as the PSC’s role in the NYISO’s planning process in the OATT.

In doing so, Boundless claimed, the PSC is interfering with the open solicitation that the NYISO must conduct, and is erecting hurdles for non-incumbents like Boundless to compete in that process.

“The commission’s determination is legally and factually in error and Boundless respectfully requests that the commission grant rehearing and, if it continues to identify specific projects that it concludes might meet the public policy requirements it identifies, at the very least eliminate those provisions of the order that seek to exclude the Boundless’ projects from consideration in the NYISO solicitation,” Boundless said.

Others withdraw

In a Jan. 13 filing submitted to the PSC, NextEra Energy’s (NYSE:NEE) NextEra Energy Transmission New York (NEETNY) withdrew, as requested in the PSC’s December 2015 order, these routes from further consideration in the proceedings:

  • Edic to Pleasant Valley (P15)
  • Marcy to New Scotland (P18)
  • Marcy to Rotterdam (P16)
  • New Scotland to Knickerbocker (P17)
  • Greenbush to Pleasant Valley (P16, P18, P19a)
  • Greenbush to Knickerbocker (P17)

Also as requested in the order, NEETNY said it will propose its Marcy/Edic to New Scotland/Princetown to Rotterdam transmission solution (P17) and its Knickerbocker to Pleasant Valley transmission solution (P17, P19c – coupled with certain upgrades referenced in the order) to the NYISO.

In a separate Jan. 13 filing, NEETNY said that as requested in the order, it withdraws its entire application for the Oakdale to Fraser Project from further consideration in the proceedings.

In their Jan. 15 filing submitted to the PSC, Central Hudson Gas and Electric, Niagara Mohawk Power d/b/a National Grid, New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG), Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E) and NY Transco (collectively, the New York Transmission Owners or NYTOs), withdrew, as requested in the December 2015 order, these projects from the proceedings:

  • Oakdale to Fraser (P10)
  • Edic to New Scotland; Princetown to Rotterdam (P10, P12, P13, P14)
  • New Scotland to Leeds (reconductor) (P9, P12, P14)
  • Leeds to Pleasant Valley (P9, P14)
  • Leeds to Pleasant Valley (reconductor) (P7, P12)
  • Knickerbocker to Pleasant Valley (P10)
  • Hurley Avenue PARS (P8, P13)

The NYTOs said that their withdrawal, however, is contingent on the understanding that such withdrawal will not be the basis for barring recovery of costs associated with developing those projects for the PSC’s review. They also said that they reserve the right to introduce some or all of those projects in a future proceeding, and withdrawal from this proceeding does not preclude such action.

The NYTOs further noted that they suggest that the consideration of those projects by the PSC to date remain within the overall record of the proceeding as part of the evaluation of alternatives required by Article 7 of the Public Service Law.

As requested by the PSC’s order, the NYTOs said they will propose their Knickerbocker to Pleasant Valley transmission solution (P6) and their Edic to New Scotland with a tie-in to the Rotterdam substation; Knickerbocker to Pleasant Valley transmission solution project (P11) to the NYISO, noting that both solutions will be coupled with certain add-on upgrades discussed in the order.

National Grid is a subsidiary of National Grid plc. Central Hudson is a Fortis company. NYSEG and RG&E are subsidiaries of Iberdrola USA, which is a subsidiary of Iberdrola S.A.

In a Jan. 15 filing submitted to the PSC, North America Transmission LLC and North America Transmission Corporation (together, NAT), withdrew these proposed transmission line segments and route alternatives from further consideration:

  • Edic to Fraser (including all routes and alternatives; P1, P2, P3, P4 and P5)
  • New Scotland to Leeds to Pleasant Valley (base alternative in new right of way (ROW) adjacent to existing ROW; P1 and P3)
  • New Scotland to Leeds to Pleasant Valley (alternative 1 – I-87 ROW; P2)
  • New Scotland to Knickerbocker segment of New Scotland to Pleasant Valley (alternative 2 – 115-kV ROW; P4 and P5)

NAT said that upon withdrawal of those segments, it will continue to seek consideration of its Knickerbocker to Churchtown to Pleasant Valley (alternative 2 – 115-kV ROW), as studied in NAT portfolio P5.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3294 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 16 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.