On February 21, 2019, FERC issued an order (“Order No. 845-A”) granting in part and denying in part various requests for rehearing and clarification of its determinations in Order No. 845.  In Order No. 845, FERC revised its interconnection rules for large generators, i.e., generators with capacities greater than 20 MW.  Although the requests for rehearing asked FERC to reconsider all but one of the Order No. 845 reforms, Order No. 845-A effectively leaves the major reforms intact, and focuses in large part on explaining FERC’s intentions as to how the new rules should work.  Compliance filings in response to both Order Nos. 845 and 845-A are due May 22, 2019.

On April 19, 2018, FERC issued Order No. 845, a final rule revising the pro forma Large Generator Interconnection Procedures and pro forma Large Generator Interconnection Agreement.  FERC issued ten specific reforms and explained the revisions sought to improve certainty for interconnection customers, promote more informed decisions, and enhance the interconnection process (see April 25, 2018 edition of the WER).  FERC declined to adopt four of the reforms proposed in its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.  A dozen separate requests were filed for rehearing and/or clarification.

Order No. 845-A granted in part and denied in part the various requests for rehearing and clarification.  In the order, FERC addresses:  1) the interconnection customer’s option to build; 2) contingent facilities; 3) study models and assumptions; 4) congestion and curtailment information; 5) the pro forma definition of “Generating Facility”; 6) interconnection study deadlines; 7) requesting service below generating facility capacity; 8) surplus interconnection service; 9) material modifications and the incorporation of advanced technology; 10) general process concerns; 11) interconnection request withdrawals; and 12) wholesale distribution tariffs.

More specifically, and among other things, FERC’s rehearing order:

  • Allows transmission providers to recover oversight costs when interconnection customers opt to build requisite interconnection facilities and network upgrades, and clarifies the option to build applies to all public utility transmission providers, but does not apply to stand alone network upgrades on affected systems;
  • Explains that an interconnection customer may propose control technologies at any time during the interconnection process to request service below the generating facility’s maximum capacity, and clarifies that transmission providers must provide a detailed explanation of any determination to perform additional studies at the full generating facility capacity in such situations;
  • Requires transmission providers to explain why they do not consider a specific network upgrade a stand alone network upgrade;
  • Confirms that FERC did not intend to limit the ability of RTOs/ISOs to argue that an independent entity variation from FERC’s surplus interconnection service requirements is appropriate;
  • Clarifies that transmission providers may use FERC’s critical energy/electric infrastructure information (“CEII”) regulations as a model in study modeling and assumptions, and the phrase “current system conditions” does not require transmission providers to maintain network models that reflect current real-time operating conditions of the transmission provider’s system, but should reflect the system conditions currently used in interconnection studies; and
  • Clarifies that transmission providers need not post 2017 interconnection study metrics.

A copy of the order is available here.