On September 19, 2019, FERC granted in part and denied in part a complaint by EDF Renewable Energy, Inc. (“EDF”) which alleged that the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”), Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (“SPP”), and PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) Open Access Transmission Tariffs (“Tariffs”), the MISO-SPP Joint Operating Agreement (“JOA”), and the MISO-PJM JOA are unjust and unreasonable because they lack sufficient detail and transparency regarding the process each Regional Transmission Organization (“RTO”) uses to coordinate with Affected Systems, i.e., other transmission systems that may be affected by a proposed generator interconnection. FERC’s order comes after an April 2018 technical conference that explored the issues raised in EDF’s complaint as well as broader Affected Systems issues (see February 13, 2018 edition of the WER). FERC’s September 19 order agreed that the lack of transparency in Affected System coordination creates cost uncertainty that presents a significant obstacle to the development of new generation resources, and required MISO, SPP, and PJM to memorialize their current Affected System study coordination processes in their Tariffs and JOAs. FERC also required the RTOs to add to their Tariffs and JOAs clear references to further Affected System coordination details in business practices and other coordination documents. However, FERC declined to initiate a generic proceeding on the Affected Systems coordination issues raised in the technical conference in regions beyond those identified in the complaint.

FERC’s order addressed the extent to which the specified RTOs’ Tariffs and JOAs addressed Affected System coordination processes; how each RTO determines Affected System impacts; the time permitted by each RTO for interconnection customers to review Affected System studies; the modeling standards each RTO uses when conducting Affected System studies; and how each RTO allocates Affected System costs. FERC concluded that interconnection customers should have access to a reasonable level of transparency as to when transmission providers will exchange Affected Systems information and provide study results, as well as information about how Affected System impacts are determined, the modeling standards used to determine the impacts, and how network upgrades required on an Affected System will be identified and allocated. To that end, FERC’s September 19 order required:

  • MISO and SPP to revise their JOA to explain their existing procedures for monitoring each other’s systems for Affected System impacts;
  • PJM to amend its Tariff to memorialize its practice of providing 30 days for interconnection customers to review Affected System study results;
  • MISO, SPP, and PJM to revise their JOAs to state the location in their business practices or other coordination documents where interconnection customers can find modeling details that RTOs use when studying a project for Affected System impacts; and
  • MISO, SPP, and PJM to submit joint JOA revisions to detail the method by which each RTO determines relative queue priority in an Affected System analysis and to explain how each RTO will allocate the cost of network upgrades required on an Affected System RTO.

FERC denied EDF’s requests to require Affected System RTO studies to be delivered in time for the host RTO to meet the interconnection study deadlines in its own tariff, among other requests that would have required the RTOs to align their respective interconnection study deadlines. FERC explained that doing so was not necessary to ensure transparent Affected System coordination processes, and noted that each RTO should be permitted to develop an interconnection queue process that works best for its region.

FERC’s order is available here.