Maryland regulators issue temporary extension of construction deadline for 150-MW solar facility

The Maryland Public Service Commission has issued a temporary extension of a construction deadline associated with a 150-MW solar generating facility in Somerset County, Md.

As noted in a Nov. 5 filing signed by the commission’s executive secretary, Great Bay Solar I, LLC and Great Bay Solar II, LLC – collectively, Great Bay – in October requested that the commission extend and modify the construction deadlines contained in a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) granted to Great Bay. The CPCN authorizes Great Bay to build the generating facility. In its request, the commission added, Great Bay also said that the construction deadline for its CPCN will expire on Dec. 30.

The commission said that according to Great Bay, the first 75 MW of the project began commercial operations in early 2018, while the second 75-MW phase of the project – Phase II – has not begun construction and is the subject of the request.

As noted in Great Bay’s Oct. 5 filing, its CPCN became final on Dec. 30, 2015, and authorized construction of the 150-MW project in two phases. Conditions listed with the project’s approval required construction of Phase II to begin by Dec. 30, and for construction to be complete by June 2019, Great Bay said.

“[D]ue to the large scale of the project, and the need to complete Phase I first, Great Bay Solar II, LLC is unable to meet these deadlines,” Great Bay said. “However, Great Bay has acted in good faith in its efforts to complete the project – the largest ever permitted in Maryland – and an extension is appropriate and consistent with commission precedent.”

To allow for successful completion of Phase II, Great Bay requests an approximately eight-month extension to the project’s construction deadline, requiring the start of construction of Phase II of the project by Aug. 30, 2019. Great Bay also said that it requests that the commission modify the construction completion deadline to require construction completion 15 months after the construction commencement deadline – Dec. 30, 2020. That time, Great Bay said, is necessary to safely build and commission Phase II of the project.

Among other things, Great Bay said that it is advancing the project in good faith by, for instance, working to secure an extension to the interconnection services agreement with PJM Interconnection to reflect a commercial operation date of December 2020.

The commission noted in its filing that the state Department of Natural Resources Power Plant Research (PPRP), in a letter dated Nov. 1, notified the commission that PPRP will be required to review the CPCN to respond to the request and, if PPRP were to recommend approval of the extension, it would need to submit revised licensing conditions for the CPCN. In its letter, PPRP said that it estimates that it will not complete review until mid-February 2019. The commission added that the PPRP therefore asks the commission to extend the expiration date of the existing CPCN until such time as PPRP’s review has been completed and the commission considers the request and issues its decision. PPRP further asked that the commission remove the matter from a Nov. 20 administrative meeting.

The commission added that after considering PPRP’s request, it will issue a temporary extension of the construction deadline associated with the CPCN until it has issued its decision on the request. The matter is to be removed from the Nov. 20 administrative meeting and tentatively rescheduled to a March 20 administrative meeting, the commission said.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3235 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.