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Wind, solar developers ask FERC to confirm transmission rights

Through a group of its subsidiaries, Terra-Gen Power LLC on May 10 asked FERC to confirm that it can use three transmission lines it plans to build to transmit all the energy that can be produced by its planned Southern California wind and solar generation projects.

Terra-Gen in February 2011 was granted priority rights to use all the capacity on three transmission lines it was constructing to accommodate the phased development of its Alta Wind Energy Center and Alta Solar Energy Center near Mohave, Calif. However, “substantial progress towards full utilization of those transmission lines has occurred,” and Terra-Gen is poised to develop a substantial amount of additional generation to be owned through eight new project companies, according to the filing.

“Interconnecting these new generation developments will require three additional limited and discrete generation lead lines,” Terra-Gen told FERC.

The company therefore is now seeking priority to capacity on three new 230-kV radial generator tie lines: a 2.8-mile line and a 6.8-mile line, each having a maximum capacity of around 476 MW, and a 2-mile line having approximately 951 MW of capacity.

Terra-Gen explained that many of the new generation projects are in advanced stages of development and are expected to begin commercial operation in late 2012 through 2016, and that the project companies will obtain rights to use the transmission lines through a shared facilities agreement.

Additional wind, solar and other generation projects “will be under development” in the same vicinity by Alta Windpower Development LLC and TGP Development Co. LLC through 2012 and will be assigned “to yet-to-be-formed project companies as appropriate,” the filing explained. Altogether, Terra-Gen said those projects “will require the full maximum aggregate capacity” of the new transmission lines.

The company said it has specific plans to develop the generation resources that will use the transmission capacity, and that it and its affiliates “have demonstrated their ability to place renewable generation projects into service through phased construction.”

The filing noted that Terra-Gen since 2008 has invested approximately $25 million annually, not including equipment costs, to develop the Alta Wind and Alta Solar energy centers, and “expects to continue investing at a similar pace to develop the additional planned projects.”

According to Terra-Gen, “the successful completion of these future projects is dependent on access to transmission and interconnection to the transmission lines, and would be materially impacted if the commission were to deny petitioners’ request to confirm their priority access to the transmission lines.”

The subsidiaries of Terra-Gen filing the instant petition are Alta Wind VII LLC, Alta Wind IX LLC, Alta Wind X LLC, Alta Wind XI LLC, Alta Wind XII LLC, Alta Wind XIII LLC, Alta Wind XIV LLC, Alta Wind XV LLC, Alta Windpower Development and TGP Development Co. Terra-Gen is an affiliate of ArcLight Capital Partners LLC and Global Infrastructure Partners. (EL12-68)