On April 22, 2020, FERC accepted tariff revisions from Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (“SPP”) to comply with a October 17, 2019 order accepting in part SPP’s Order No. 841 compliance proposal (the “October Order”). FERC also directed SPP to submit a further compliance filing to specifically exempt run-of-the-river hydroelectric, wind, and solar resources from the continuous minimum run-time requirement under SPP’s Resource Adequacy tariff provisions and Planning Criteria.

FERC issued Order No. 841 in 2018, requiring Regional Transmission Organization (“RTOs”) and Independent System Operators (“ISOs”) to revise their tariffs to enable wholesale market participation for electric storage resources (“ESRs”). SPP was among the first to have its Order No. 841 compliance filing largely accepted, but the October Order found that SPP impermissibly included a continuous minimum run-time requirement in its non-tariff Planning Criteria, rather than in its Tariff. Because such a requirement significantly affects rates, terms, and conditions of service, FERC initiated a separate proceeding under Federal Power Act Section 206 and directed SPP to revise its tariff accordingly (see October 24, 2019 edition of the WER).

In response to the October Order, SPP submitted a further compliance filing on December 12, 2019, proposing to integrate a broadly-applicable four-hour minimum run-time requirement into Attachment AA (Resource Adequacy) of the SPP tariff. SPP tariff Attachment AA specifies all of the terms and conditions relevant to SPP’s requirement that load-responsible entities maintain sufficient capacity and planning reserves to serve its forecasted load. SPP’s Planning Criteria provides additional details regarding those operational and performance requirements.

Stakeholders protested what they believed reflected an inadvertent drafting error in the compliance filing—namely that the proposed tariff revisions failed to recognize that variable energy resources are exempt from the four-hour continuous minimum run-time requirement under the SPP Planning Criteria. SPP agreed that certain renewable resources should be excluded from the run-time requirement, as they may not be able to guarantee continual service.  Accordingly, SPP proposed to submit a future compliance filing expressly exempting run-of-the-river hydroelectric, wind, or solar resources.

FERC accepted SPP’s compliance filing and directed SPP to make the proposed additional revisions within 45 days of the date of the order. In addition, FERC rejected other protests regarding SPP’s use of certain undefined terms in the proposed Attachment AA revisions, finding such usage reasonable and/or beyond the scope of the proceeding. FERC similarly rejected other requests to direct additional SPP tariff revisions regarding electric storage resource adequacy accreditation, agreeing with SPP that such requests were out of scope.

A copy of the order is available here.