FERC grants waiver to 450-MW Birdsboro project in Pennsylvania

The members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on April 7 granted a March 18 request from Birdsboro Power LLC for a one-time, limited waiver of the Competitive Entry Exemption deadline set forth in Attachment DD of the PJM Interconnection Open Access Transmission Tariff.

“For the reasons discussed below, we grant Birdsboro Power’s request for waiver,” said the April 7 order.

PJM secures capacity commitments under the Reliability Pricing Model through a Base Residual Auction (BRA), held three years before a delivery year. PJM’s Minimum Offer Price Rule imposes minimum offer prices for new generation capacity resources participating in the BRA. Under Attachment DD, a Capacity Market Seller can seek to qualify for a Competitive Entry Exemption to the Minimum Offer Price Rule for an upcoming BRA.

If a Capacity Market Seller seeks a Competitive Entry Exemption, it must fulfill the substantive criteria for one and must submit its exemption request, along with supporting data and documentation, to the Market Monitoring Unit (MMU) and PJM’s Office of Interconnection at least 135 days before the commencement of the offer period for the BRA in which the Capacity Market Seller seeks to submit its offer. For the May 11, 2016 BRA (2016 BRA), the deadline for requesting a Competitive Entry Exemption was Dec. 28, 2015.

Birdsboro Power is developing a new 450-MW natural gas-fired steam electric power plant in Birdsboro, Berks County, Pennsylvania. Birdsboro Power explains that the project has an active Generation Interconnection Request with PJM and received its Feasibility Study in September 2015. Birdsboro Power expected the System Impact Study to be released in March 2016. Birdsboro Power also anticipates completion of the Facilities Interconnection Study and Interconnection Services Agreement, and receipt of the Construction Service Agreement, in the first quarter of 2017. Birdsboro Power estimates the project will become operational in April 2019.

Birdsboro Power requested waiver of the Dec. 28, 2015 deadline to request a Competitive Entry Exemption for its project for the 2016 BRA for the 2019/2020 delivery year. Birdsboro Power also requested expedited action on its petition by April 8. Birdsboro Power asserted that expedited action is warranted to provide the MMU and PJM’s Office of Interconnection sufficient time for consideration of its Competitive Entry Exemption request in advance of the 2016 BRA.  

Birdsboro Power asserts that good cause exists to grant its requested waiver. In support of its request, Birdsboro Power notes prior situations in which the Commission has granted one-time, limited waivers of the procedural deadline to allow a Capacity Market Seller to apply for a Competitive  Entry Exemption.

Birdsboro Power argues that its error was made in good faith. Birdsboro Power explains that its failure to timely submit its request for a Competitive Entry Exemption was inadvertent and was due, in part, to uncertainty about the feasibility of the project being in service by the 2019/2020 delivery year. Birdsboro Power anticipates that it will receive the Interconnection Service Agreement and Construction Service Agreement in the first quarter of 2017, and that the project will be in service by April 2019. Birdsboro Power states that it acted diligently and in good faith to promptly request a waiver of the deadline once it determined the feasibility of achieving an in-service date for the Project in time for the 2019/2020 delivery year.

The company said in its March 18 application that the project will use either General Electric or Siemens H-Series gas turbine technology in a single shaft 1×1 configuration comprised of a gas turbine, heat recovery steam generator, and steam turbine. The project will utilize wet cooling and evaporative cooling facilities. The site is a 99-acre parcel formerly home to an army tank factory.

The project company has secured site control and derives many benefits from the location including proximity to the Texas Eastern Transmission natural gas pipeline, which provides an outlet for Marcellus and Utica natural gas production, availability of onsite water resources suitable for the project’s water cooling advantage, and proximity to a suitable electrical interconnection point.

A project contact is: Raj Suri, EmberClear Co., 2700 Post Oak Blvd, #1400, Houston, TX 77056, Telephone: (281) 657-3310, Mobile: (281) 989-0903, rsuri@emberclear.com.

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.