FERC rejects Genbright request for aggregation of New England solar sources

The members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Sept. 23 rejected a July 26 request from Genbright LLC for a limited, one-time waiver of sections of ISO New England’s (ISO-NE) Transmission, Markets and Services Tariff to allow for the participation of Genbright’s aggregation of Distributed Energy Resources in ISO-NE’s eleventh Forward Capacity Auction (FCA 11).

Genbright provides commercial asset management services to owners of Distributed Energy Resources and demand response resources and energy brokerage services to end use customers. Genbright seeks to enroll small-scale (i.e., under 5 MW) projects classified as generators into ISO-NE’s Forward Capacity Market and is working with solar asset owners to co-locate battery storage assets on solar sites. Genbright states that both the solar and battery storage assets were included in its Show of Interest and Qualification Package submitted for FCA 11.

ISO-NE’s Tariff establishes the requirements for New Generating Capacity Resources to qualify for the FCA. In order to qualify as a New Generating Capacity Resource, the project’s sponsor must submit a New Capacity Show of Interest Form during the New Capacity Show of Interest Submission Window and a New Capacity Qualification Package by the New Capacity Qualification Deadline. For FCA 11, ISO-NE’s New Capacity Show of Interest Window opened on April 7 and closed on April 22. ISO-NE’s New Capacity Qualification Deadline was June 21.

ISO-NE’s Tariff lists the submission requirements that New Generating Capacity Resources must meet. These requirements include “a simple location plan and a one-line diagram of the plant and station facilities, including any known transmission facilities; the location of the proposed interconnection; and other specific project data as set forth in the New Capacity Show of Interest Form,” and “documentation demonstrating that the Project Sponsor has already achieved control of the project site for the duration of the relevant Capacity Commitment Period….”

Genbright requested a partial waiver of the one-line diagram requirements for Genbright’s storage capacities under 2 MWs. Genbright stated that it received a Notice of Deficiency earlier in July 2016 from ISO-NE regarding the lack of detail in Genbright’s one-line drawings and site control documentation in its New Capacity Show of Interest Form. Genbright stated that it is unable to reconcile the document deficiencies ISO-NE identified in the Notice of Deficiency and provide requested details for all the storage projects in the timeframe that ISO-NE set forth. Genbright further stated that it would not be required to submit any one-line diagrams were it treated on a par with the aggregation of similar behind-the-meter projects enrolled as Demand Response.

Massachusetts Electric (National Grid) in response comments claimed that it has the right to own, qualify, and take title to certain capacity projects for specific solar facilities managed by Genbright and that Genbright has not shown that it has the rights to the capacity resources set out in its request for waiver. National Grid stated that Genbright filed a petition with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, which is still pending, arguing that it should be permitted to qualify the capacity products from any solar facilities to which National Grid asserted title.

ISO-NE claimed in its comments that Genbright’s request for waiver does not meet the commission’s standards for granting waivers. ISO-NE stated that Genbright’s request is not of limited scope. ISO-NE stated that the one-line diagram required by the Tariff is necessary to conduct the initial interconnection analysis and overlapping interconnection impact analysis used in determining the deliverability of new capacity in the Forward Capacity Auction. Deliverability of new capacity, according to ISO-NE, is a fundamental premise of the Forward Capacity Market, one which would be undermined by granting Genbright’s request for waiver. ISO-NE also argued that site control information assists in the determination of whether a project is real and can achieve commercial operation by the relevant Capacity Commitment Period. Thus, according to ISO-NE, granting the request for waiver would change the way New Capacity Generating Resources are qualified.

Said FERC’s Sept. 23 rejection order: “The Commission has granted waiver of tariff provisions where: (1) the applicant acted in good faith; (2) the waiver is of limited scope; (3) the waiver addresses a concrete problem; and (4) the waiver does not have undesirable consequences, such as harming third parties. We find that Genbright’s request for waiver does not satisfy the foregoing criteria and thus, we will deny it.”

The commissioners added: “Genbright’s request for waiver is not limited in scope. As ISO-NE notes, granting Genbright’s request would undermine the qualification process for resources in the FCM, allowing for the participation of its resources in the FCA without confirmation that its resources are deliverable and that Genbright has site control. Genbright has failed to support such a request. Further, Genbright’s request for waiver has undesirable consequences. Granting Genbright’s request for waiver would give Genbright a favorable position relative to other market participants that have met the Tariff requirements, an outcome that Genbright has not adequately justified. We thus find that granting Genbright’s request for waiver would be unduly discriminatory to market participants that abided by the Tariff requirements.”

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.