Constellation Energy Commodities Group (“CECG”) recently requested Western Electricity Coordinating Council (“WECC”) certification for two new Balancing Authorities (“BAs”). One BA would be located at the Mid-Columbia trading hub (“Mid-C”) and focus on providing ancillary services to wind generators in the Northwest region, while the other BA would be set up for NaturEner USA’s 189 MW Rim Rock wind power project in Montana.
While additional details of the new Montana BA are not yet available, CECG’s affiliate, Constellation Energy Control and Dispatch (“CECD”), is slated to operate the new Mid-C BA. CECD currently manages fourteen BAs throughout the United States, and operates Iberdrola Renewables, LLC’s imbalance self-supply pilot program.
CECG has proposed that the new Mid-C BA would initially be generation-only, based on hydroelectric energy and capacity that CECG won in a Chelan Public Utility District auction in February 2012. CECG also reportedly intends to expand the new Mid-C BA to include additional resources – which may be a mix of hydroelectric, wind, and fossil-fuel generation – and potentially loads as well. As proposed, the new Mid-C BA could start operation as early as January 2013 and is intended to provide ancillary services to the Northwest region’s large wind fleet as an alternative to those services provided by the Bonneville Power Administration.
Both BA proposals are currently under review at WECC, who acts on behalf of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) when it registers and certifies new BAs located within its footprint. WECC has explained that new BA certification involves a rigorous process centered on ensuring that proposed new BAs have the appropriate personnel, procedures, systems, and training to meet NERC requirements.