On October 27, 2010, Cedar Creek Wind LLC (“Cedar Creek”) and Milford Wind Corridor Phase I, LLC (“Milford”) filed two separate appeals with FERC to challenge a decision by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) that would force the wind generators to register as a transmission owner and operator. By requiring Cedar Creek and Milford to register as a transmission owner and operator for reliability standards, generators with interconnection radial lines above 100 kV could also be forced to register as transmission owners and operators in the future. This would then subject those generators to more NERC reliability standards.
On October 6, 2010, NERC issued a decision on appeal that both Milford and Cedar Creek would have to register as a transmission owner and operator in order to comply with NERC’s mandatory reliability standards. The two wind generators then appealed to FERC, and they argue radial transmission lines that are connected to one transmission source are usually not included in NERC’s definition of bulk-electric system. Therefore, Milford and Cedar Creek do not consider themselves owners and operators according to NERC registry criteria and FERC precedent.
In both appeals, the wind generators distinguished their facilities from a case, New Harquahala Generating Co., where a gas-fired plant was deemed to be a transmission owner and operator. That case never clearly determined what factors make a generator an owner and operator of transmission, and it never established if a generator is a transmission owner and operator by virtue of owning generator interconnection facilities. Milford also requested that if FERC rejects their appeal, NERC and the regional entity be forced to identify exactly which standards apply to the generator.
The Milford project is a 203.5 MW project in Utah, and it began commercial operations in November 16, 2009. The wind turbines collect power through underground collection, and the underground collection system connects to a project substation with on-site step up transformers. The transformers are connected to the bulk power system through a 345 kV line. Cedar Creek is a 300 MW wind generation facility that exclusively sells its output to the Public Service Company of Colorado (“PSCo”). Cedar Creek connects to PSCo through a 230 kV tie-line.