FERC Reaffirms MISO’s Treatment of QFs in Entergy’s Service Territory

On September 22, FERC denied a request to rehear an April 21, 2016 order involving a complaint from the Occidental Chemical Corporation (“Occidental”) against the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc.  (“MISO”).  In so doing, FERC reaffirmed its April 21 Order and further explained its previous finding that MISO’s treatment of qualifying facilities (“QFs”) within the Entergy service territory neither violates the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (“PURPA”) nor the Federal Power Act (“FPA”). Continue reading

Seattle Substation Project to Merge Infrastructure and Architecture in a Unique Urban Setting

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Construction has commenced on Seattle City Light’s Denny Substation — a new electrical infrastructure project planned for the city’s South Lake Union neighborhood. Not only will the project help address the growing electricity demand for Seattle’s tech, biomedical, and non-profit sectors, but it also aims to meld functionality with industrial design and landscape architecture to form a distinctive public meeting space. As reported in Slate this week, the substation will include a public park, off-leash dog area, as well as art installations and a plaza for entertainment and food carts. There will also be an elevated walkway to allow onlookers to check out the facility and learn more about how the primarily clean electricity coming from the substation (89% hydro, and 3% wind-power) is distributed throughout the city.

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As acknowledged by the substation’s design company, NBBJ, electricity system infrastructure is not typically designed to be anything other than “glum, concrete facilities filled with wires and electrical equipment relegated to obscure desolate stretches of cityscapes.” Thus, the notion that such a project could not only be visually appealing but also an urban hot spot makes this a unique endeavor.

The substation, slated for completion in 2018, also comes at a pivotal time for the country’s electricity infrastructure. Much of the grid is aging and in need of repair and replacement–as starkly illustrated by the  “D+” grade that our energy infrastructure most recently earned from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Although many policymakers, regulators, and stakeholders, are looking at non-wires solutions to avoid shelling out the billions necessary to address this problem, the Denny Substation could help make such projects, when necessary to build, easier to promote…and a lot more fun to visit.

(These pictures, along with others, can be found on the design company’s website, linked-to above).

FERC Questions PJM Transmission Owners’ Compliance with Order No. 890

On August 26, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or the “Commission”) established a proceeding to determine whether transmission owners in the footprint of the PJM Interconnection L.L.C. (“PJM”) are complying with the requirements of Order No. 890.  This proceeding follows a November 2015 technical conference in which several PJM transmission customers and other parties suggested that stakeholders are unable to meaningfully participate in the transmission planning process for certain PJM projects.  Continue reading