NRG’s Huntley Power withdraws life-saving reliability deal for its coal plant

Huntley Power LLC, the operator of a coal-fired power plant in New York, on Jan 11 notified the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of its withdrawal of a proposed unexecuted reliability must-run (RMR) agreement.

Huntley, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG), owns and operates the Huntley generating facility located in Western New York.

On Aug. 25, 2015, Huntley submitted a 180-day notice to the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) that it intended to retire Units 67 and 68 on March 1, 2016. The NYPSC then requested the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) and Niagara Mohawk Corp. d/b/a National Grid to assess the reliability impacts of the Huntley facility retiring.

Since making its initial application for RMW service, Huntley received several updates from the NYISO and National Grid as to whether there would be a reliability need for one or more units at the Huntley site. In particular, on Oct. 30, 2015, the NYISO and National Grid informed the New York Department of Public Service that there would be a reliability need if certain transmission upgrades are not completed by June 1, 2016, specifically low voltage issues adjacent to the Huntley Station with Huntley out of service. In conformance with this finding, Huntley filed an amended application to revise its cost-of-service agreement on Dec. 7, 2015.

But, on Dec. 18, the NYISO and National Grid changed their minds and informed Huntley that the facility was not needed for reliability after March 1, 2016. As a result of this information that RMR service is not needed, Huntley is now requesting at FERC withdrawal of its filing. “While the evolving information coming from the NYISO and National Grid clearly points to the need for reforms to process by which reliability determinations are made (including the potential benefits of a multi-year forward capacity market), such concerns are clearly outside the scope of this proceeding,” Huntley added.

The New York State PSC told the FERC on Dec. 28 that this reliability deal for the coal-fired Huntley power plant should be rejected. On Dec. 7, Huntley Power submitted to FERC a revised, unexecuted cost-of-service (COS) agreement for RMR service. The Dec. 7 filing presents a revised version of an Oct. 15 filing.

Huntley explained that, based on the assumption that Units 67 and 68 would be needed for transmission system reliability, it developed a COS rate and a draft, unexecuted RMR Agreement to be discussed with the NYISO and National Grid. But, the NYISO and National Grid have each reported that there would be no system reliability impacts from shutting Huntley, the PSC said.

Huntley Units 67 and 68 are coal-fired units, with 218 MW of nameplate capacity apiece, that began operating in 1957 and 1958, respectively. The units are located in Tonawanda, N.Y., and are interconnected to the National Grid system in NYISO’s Zone A.

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.