Connecticut solar developer files PURPA complaint at FERC

Windham Solar LLC and Allco Finance Ltd. on May 19 petitioned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to initiate an enforcement action against the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to remedy the state of Connecticut’s alleged improper implementation of the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA).

Windham is the owner of various small power production facilities in Connecticut within the meaning of Section 210(l) of PURPA. Allco is the sole member of Windham. Windham and Allco are each a “qualifying small power producer” within the meaning of Section 210(h)(2)(B) of PURPA.

On Jan. 22, 2016, Windham said in the complaint that it offered to sell all the energy and capacity from 26 solar electric generating facilities to Eversource, the Connecticut utility to which all the solar facilities interconnect. Each project is a qualifying facility (QF), the company said. Windham offered to sell the energy and capacity at Eversource’s forecasted avoided costs over a contract term specified under Connecticut law of 30 years.

The complaint added: “Eversource refuses to purchase energy and capacity from each QF for two stated reasons. First, because Windham has already sold the renewable energy credits (‘RECs’) to Eversource pursuant to a separate contract approved by PURA, Eversource has no obligation to purchase energy and capacity of the QFs under Connecticut law under a contract term greater than one year. Connecticut law embodied in Eversource’s Tariff 980 and Rider N (both approved by PURA) allow for a QF to sell energy and capacity separately from RECs but only if the contract term is less than one year. Thus, Connecticut law prohibits QFs that have separately sold their RECs from selling energy and capacity at the rate required by 18 CFR § 292.304(d)(2)(ii). Second, even if Windham had not sold its RECs, Windham (with certain exceptions) would need to go through a bidding process under PURA’s regulations to obtain the rate provided by 18 CFR §292.304(d)(2)(ii).

“The Petitioners seek Commission to enforce PURPA in Federal District Court in order to invalidate (i) the requirement of a bidding process as a precondition to obtaining an avoided cost contract based upon the rate required by 18 CFR §292.304(d)(2)(ii), and (ii) the prohibition against a QF who has already sold its RECs from selling its energy and capacity pursuant to a long-term contract.”

Attached to the complaint is a list of the 26 solar projects, all of which are either 1 MW (ac) or 2 MW (ac) in size.

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.