West Virginia PSC staff recommends against approval of Tri-State solar project

The staff at the West Virginia Public Service Commission in a Jan. 27 memo recommended that the commission not grant a siting certificate to Tri-State Solar/Wind Energy LLC because the application is deficient and the company has failed after repeated attempts by staff to get more needed information to properly fix it.

On Sept. 22, 2015, Tri-State Solar/Wind Energy applied for a certificate for a 5.3-MW (ac) solar generating facility located in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. The electricity generated by the project will be sold in competitive wholesale market in West Virginia and other locations. Tri-State estimated the cost of construction of the project, including the transmission line, to be less than $9 million.

On Jan. 26, Karen McClure, Technical Analyst with the PSC’s Engineering Division, submitted her Final Staff Memorandum. McClure noted a number of deficiencies with the application and recommended that the application be dismissed. However, should the commission elect to approve the application and grant the siting certificate, she recommended that the approval be subject to a number of conditions.

Also on Jan. 26, Josh Allen, Utilities Analyst with the Utilities Division, filed his Final Staff Memorandum. Allen noted that Tri-State failed to provide the financial data required by the Siting Rules, even after two separate data requests and phone calls to Tri-State’s contact (which were not returned.)

The memo noted that Tri-State is a West Virginia limited liability company whose charter was revoked by the Secretary of State in December 2014 for failure to file its Annual Report. The company is currently not in good standing with the Secretary of State, the memo added.

Matters of most concern to PSC staff include details of land acquisition for the project and the fact that Tri-State provided no grid interconnection studies for the project. The only interconnection information submitted to date is a 2013 email correspondence from an American Electric Power representative in which he estimated the cost to connect the project to the AEP/Appalachian Power transmission line and a PJM Interconnection agreement signed by Tri-State only. PSC staff spoke to John Scalzo, an AEP representative, on Jan. 26, and Scalzo stated that the last time AEP representatives had any contact with Tri-State was in 2013.

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.