February 15, 2018

FERC orders Indiana wind project to the back of the queue

By Michael Kuser | RTO Insider | February 12, 2018 | www.rtoinsider.com

FERC ruled Friday that the developer of a proposed 1,500-MW Indiana wind farm must go to the end of the interconnection queue to move its point of interconnection (POI) 2.9 miles.

The commission’s Feb. 9 order rejected Harvest Wind’s request for a waiver allowing it to change the POI without triggering the “material modification” language under PJM’s Tariff. FERC sided with PJM in requiring a new queue application and facilities study (ER18-615).

Colorado-based Renewable Energy Systems Americas acquired the Harvest Wind project after the previous developer agreed in late 2016 to move to a second POI after AEP Indiana Michigan Transmission said the original was not a suitable spot for the wind farm’s 765-kV switchyard.

RES Americas said it learned in fall 2017 that the new location, POI 2, had some of the same problems as the original location, including wetlands and endangered species concerns. In addition, noise from the switchyard’s transformers would be too loud because of nearby houses, the company said in its Jan. 5 waiver request.

The developer said its proposed interconnection, POI 3, is “electrically identical” to the current location because it is just 2.9 miles away on the same 765-kV transmission line.

PJM opposed the request, arguing that the waiver would delay other projects in the queue because of the size of the wind project and the need for transmission restudies.

The commission agreed with PJM, finding that “Harvest Wind has not sufficiently demonstrated that it acted in good faith. Harvest Wind states that it became aware in September 2016 that both POI 1 and POI 2 presented some complicating factors due to site topology, but at that time it did not believe these factors were insurmountable. … Moreover, Harvest Wind fails to explain why it did not discover these additional complications for almost a year after initially being put on notice that complications existed at POI 1 and POI 2, demonstrating a lack of due diligence on Harvest Wind’s part.

“Harvest Wind has not sufficiently demonstrated that granting the waiver request will not have undesirable consequences or harm third parties,” the commission continued. “We agree with PJM that changing the point of interconnection at this late stage would introduce uncertainty that could well impact other lower-queued interconnection customers and that such restudy of the point of interconnection would require reassessment of protection, requiring the expenditure of time and resources, thus burdening and harming other parties.”

RES Americas said in its waiver request that it might be forced to abandon the project if the waiver were not approved.

An RES Americas spokesman said the company was “planning to proceed with the project” but did not say why a delay might force it to abandon it.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2018/02/15/ferc-orders-indiana-wind-project-to-the-back-of-the-queue/