By William M. Keyser and Elizabeth P. Trinkle
On December 15, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) to revise Parts 35 and 37 of its regulations, as well as the pro forma Large Generator Interconnection Procedures (“LGIP”) and pro forma Large Generator Interconnection Agreement (“LGIA”). The proposed reforms are designed to improve certainty, promote more informed interconnection, and enhance interconnection processes.
The pro forma LGIP and LGIA establish the terms and conditions by which public utilities subject to the Federal Power Act must provide interconnection service to Large Generating Facilities. FERC defines “Large Generating Facilities” as facilities with generating capacity greater than 20 MW. While FERC has previously undertaken steps to reduce undue discrimination in the generator interconnection process, interconnection customers have continued to express concerns regarding inefficiencies and discriminatory practices. Moreover, FERC proposes that recent changes to the resource mix, the emergence of new technologies, changes to state and federal policies, and challenges with the interconnection study process warrant reforms. Based, in part, on input received from stakeholders following a 2015 technical conference on these issues, the NOPR identifies reforms to benefit both interconnection customers through timely and cost-effective interconnection and transmission providers by mitigating the potential for re-studies associated with late-stage interconnection request withdrawals.
Specifically, FERC proposes reforms that focus on improving aspects of the pro forma LGIP and LGIA, the pro forma Open Access Transmission Tariff, and the Commission’s regulations. These reforms fall into three broad categories: (1) reforms intended to improve certainty in the interconnection process; (2) reforms intended to improve transparency by providing more information to interconnection customers; and (3) reforms intended to enhance interconnection processes. FERC requests comment from interested stakeholders on specific issues related to development and implementation of each of the proposals within these three broad areas of reform. An overview of FERC’s proposals and request for comment on each area of reform are summarized below.
Comments on the NOPR will be due 60 days from publication in the Federal Register. A copy of the NOPR is available here.