On February 27, 2020, FERC granted Southwest Power Pool, Inc.’s (“SPP”) request to further delay implementation of reforms designed to facilitate energy storage resource (“ESR”) participation in SPP’s markets. SPP requested the deferral in December 2019, explaining that it would not be able to implement its ESR participation model as scheduled due to ongoing delays in the development of a new market and transmission settlement system and software changes associated with FERC’s Order No. 841 reforms. FERC accepted SPP’s deferral request and ordered a new, August 5, 2021 effective date for SPP’s underlying Order No. 841 tariff changes. Commissioner Bernard McNamee issued a separate opinion concurring with FERC’s order.

FERC accepted SPP’s ESR participation proposal in part in October 2019, and at that time also permitted SPP to delay implementation of the proposal until July 17, 2020 to account for required software updates (see October 24, 2019 edition of the WER). As a result of further delays, SPP again requested to defer the effective date of its Tariff revisions in December 2019. SPP requested that FERC grant the deferral without specifying a precise effective date for its Order No. 841 reforms, but committed to submit a filing specifying an effective date in the future. SPP argued that the requested deferral would not materially impact the ability of ESRs to participate in SPP’s markets, since nearly all ESRs seeking to interconnect to its transmission system are undergoing generator interconnection studies not expected to be completed until the beginning of 2022.

FERC accepted SPP’s request in part, reasoning that deferral was reasonable and necessary given SPP’s need for additional time to make changes to its markets and settlements systems. In its order, FERC acknowledged arguments that deferral would have a material effect on at least one ESR which is scheduled to begin operation in February 2020, but concluded that some uncertainty was inherent in the ESR’s decision to participate in SPP’s markets prior to implementation of SPP’s Order No. 841 compliance filing. FERC also denied SPP’s request to submit a filing specifying a precise effective date in the future, reasoning that doing so would create uncertainty for prospective and existing market participants. Therefore, and taking into consideration SPP’s estimated schedule to complete the changes to its markets and settlements systems and associated software, FERC directed an effective date of August 5, 2021.

In a separate concurring opinion, Commissioner McNamee approved the majority’s order granting SPP’s request for deferral, but reiterated the concerns he expressed in the Order No. 841 proceedings regarding the Commission’s jurisdiction over ESRs’ interconnection on the distribution system or behind the meter. Commissioner McNamee stated his belief that FERC should have at a minimum included an opt-out provision for states.

FERC’s order is available here.