FERC relieves Arkansas Electric Cooperative of need to sign deals with large QFs

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Jan. 21 approved an April 2015 application from Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC) to be relieved of obligations to sign contracts with QFs over 20 MW in size.

AECC had filed, on behalf of itself and its seventeen electric distribution cooperative members, fourteen of which are located in Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) region, an application under section 210(m) of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) and section 292.310 of the commission’s regulations to terminate its mandatory purchase obligation to enter into new contracts or obligations to purchase energy and capacity from qualifying facilities (QFs) with a net capacity greater than 20 MW in its members’ service territories within MISO.

AECC stated that, for purposes of this application, it is an electric generation and transmission cooperative relying on the transmission system of Entergy Arkansas in MISO to service its members’ loads. AECC stated that it relies on section 292.309(a)(1) of the commission’s regulations, asserting that QFs in MISO have nondiscriminatory access to independently administered, auction-based day ahead and real time wholesale markets for the sale of electric energy; and wholesale markets for long-term sales of capacity and energy. AECC stated that it also relies on the rebuttable presumption in section 292.309(e) of the regulations, which states that MISO satisfies the criteria of sections 292.309(a)(1)(i)-(ii) of the commission’s regulations.

Notice of AECC’s amended application and the response to a deficiency letter was published in the Federal Register, with interventions and protests due on or before Dec. 10, 2015. No protests were filed.

Said the Jan. 21 FERC order: “AECC’s application to terminate the requirement that AECC enter into new contracts or obligations to purchase electric energy and capacity from QFs with a net capacity in excess of 20 MW on a service territory-wide basis in MISO is granted, effective November 12, 2015.”

FERC on Jan. 21 also approved a similar application from various Entergy Corp. (NYSE: ETR) subsidiaries, including Entergy Arkansas, to also be relieved of obligations to sign QF contracts for projects over 20 MW. Entergy argued that projects of that size have the ability to sell their production in the MISO market and don’t necessarily need to sell their production to Entergy.

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.