Hoosier Energy seeks PURPA relief from FERC for over-20-MW projects

Hoosier Energy Rural Electric Cooperative applied May 11 with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for relief, on a service-territory-wide basis, from the requirements of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) to enter into contracts or obligations to purchase energy and capacity made available by qualifying facilities (QF) that have a net capacity greater than 20 MW.

This request would be effective May 11, 2016, the date of this application.

Hoosier is a member-owned generation and transmission cooperative utility which provides electric energy to its 18 member distribution cooperatives, whose service territories cover a large portion of central and southern Indiana as well as part of southeastern Illinois. Hoosier is a transmission-owning member of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), and has transferred operational control over its transmission facilities to MISO.

By order dated March 30, 2016, the commission granted an application by Hoosier and its members for waiver of the members’ PURPA obligation to purchase from QFs, and Hoosier’s obligation to sell at retail to QFs, in consideration of the members’ undertaking to sell to QFs and Hoosier’s undertaking to purchase from QFs at its full avoided cost.

FERC procedures for matters like this require that a QF have non-discriminatory 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 electric energy.

Hoosier said those conditions are met through the MISO market.

“Hoosier is unaware of any potentially affected QFs,” the cooperative added. “Hoosier does not have any power purchase contracts with QFs; is not purchasing the output of QFs; has not agreed to enter into any power purchase contracts with developers of generating facilities; and is unaware of any developers of facilities that have pending state avoided cost proceedings, as of the date of this application. Hoosier has used due diligence to ascertain whether there are any potentially affected QFs including having searched FERC’s e-library and the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission’s and Illinois Commerce Commission’s dockets.”

It said to summarize its application: “Hoosier is a MISO member and has turned over operational control of its transmission facilities to MISO, and QFs with capacity in excess of 20 MW are presumed to have non-discriminatory access to MISO markets, which meet the criteria of wholesale markets as defined by Section 292.309(a)(1). Therefore, the Commission should terminate the requirement of Section 292.303(a) that Hoosier purchase power from QFs connected to its system within the MISO footprint, with regard to QFs that have a capacity greater than 20 MW, on a service territory-wide basis.”

A number of utilities and cooperatives in increasingly liquid regional power markets like MISO are making similar requests.

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.