FERC gives NorthWestern a QF break in South Dakota

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Dec.14 granted an Oct. 4 application from NorthWestern Corporation (South Dakota) to terminate the mandatory purchase obligation under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) for qualifying facilities (QFs) with a net capacity greater than 20 MW in South Dakota within the Southwest Power Pool (SPP).

NorthWestern stated that the commission has determined that QFs in SPP have non-discriminatory access to transmission and interconnection services pursuant to an open access transmission tariff and found that SPP operates a competitive market that satisfies a requirement for non-discriminatory access to competitive wholesale markets that provide a meaningful opportunity to QFs to sell short-term and long-term energy and capacity and real-time energy.

Consolidated Edison Development Inc. filed a motion to intervene and comments requesting confirmation that termination of NorthWestern’s mandatory purchase obligation would have no impact on Consolidated’s existing QF contract for its 19.5 MW Oak Tree Energy Wind Facility, and would not terminate NorthWestern’s mandatory purchase obligation for QFs that are equal to, or smaller than, 20 MW. 

Said FERC: “NorthWestern’s application seeks to terminate the requirement that it enter into new contracts or obligations to purchase electric energy and capacity from QFs with a net capacity greater than 20 MW on a service territory-wide basis in its service territory in South Dakota within SPP. NorthWestern’s application is granted.  Excusing NorthWestern from new contracts or obligations to purchase from QFs with a net capacity greater than 20 MW does not, however, authorize NorthWestern to cease purchasing under existing contracts or obligations from QFs with a net capacity of 20 MW or less, such as Consolidated’s existing 19.5 MW Oak Tree Energy Wind Facility.”

Requests for rehearing by the commission may be filed within 30 days of the date of issuance of this Dec. 14 order.

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.