Stanford University forms entity to manage power purchases, re-sales

Stanford University Power LLC, which might re-sell some power from a new solar project, applied Aug. 30 to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for authorization to engage in sales of wholesale electric energy, capacity, and ancillary services.

Stanford Power is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Leland Stanford Junior University in California. The university is committed to energy conservation and efficiency, and is working to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from campus operations as part of its commitment to environmental sustainability. Stanford Power has been created to efficiently manage this effort.

To aid the university’s efforts in promoting environmental sustainability in campus operations, the university participates in California’s “direct access” retail service (DA) program whereby electricity and other services are purchased at retail from an electric service provider (ESP). The university’s internal renewable energy goals exceed the California mandated minimum renewable procurement obligations. Participating in DA allows the University to directly manage and meet campus operational electrical needs through a mix of renewable and conventional energy resources and to further its efforts to self-direct the procurement of renewables at wholesale that will ultimately serve its retail loads.

As an example, the university has an executed Renewable Portfolio Standard Power Purchase Agreement with Solar Star California XLI LLC for the long-term purchase of as-available renewable energy from the Stanford Solar Generating Station, an approximately 54-MW (nameplate) photovoltaic facility located in Kern County, California. Stanford Power has been established to manage the university’s obligations under that agreement and to efficiently coordinate the University’s DA supply requirements going forward. Solar Star California XLI is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of SunPower. Pursuant to the agreement, Solar Star California XLI will maintain sole control of the Stanford Solar Generating Station.

Output from the Stanford Solar Generating Station will be integrated into university’s DA retail service. A third party scheduling coordinator will schedule output from the Stanford Solar Generating Station into the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) markets for Stanford Power. The university has recently assigned the power agreement to Stanford Power under a process required in the PPA, which will become effective on Sept. 28, 2106. Once the assignment is complete, Stanford Power will have the exclusive off-take right from the asset.

However, Stanford Power will not have any ownership interest and will not exercise any operational control over the Stanford Solar Generating Station. Stanford Power will be responsible for compensating the Stanford Solar Generating Station for the delivered output pursuant to the agreement. While Stanford Power expects to act primarily as buyer of the Stanford Solar Generating Station’s output, Stanford Power is submitting this application out of an abundance of caution, so that it can make sales for re-sale into the CAISO markets and with other entities such as its ESP to assist the ESP with the state-mandated renewables procurement obligation associated with the retail load the ESP serves.

A company contact is: Saurabh Anand, Stanford University, 2575 Sand Hill Road, Building 40, R119, Menlo Park, California 94025, Phone: (650) 926-8708,

Incidentally, Solar Star California XLI on July 25 requested that FERC accept its proposed baseline market-based rate tariff and authorize it to sell electric energy, capacity, and certain ancillary services at market-based rates. Applicant was formed for the purpose of developing, constructing, owning, and operating the Stanford Solar Generating Station, an approximately 54-MW (nameplate) photovoltaic facility to be located in Kern County, California.

The project is expected to begin generating test power in September 2016 and to commence commercial operation in November 2016. The project will include interconnecting transmission facilities necessary to connect the solar facility to the Southern California Edison (SCE) transmission system operated by the California ISO. Applicant will sell all of the net output of the project at wholesale to the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University under a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) that expires in 2041.

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.