Open Season Process Background
On February 9, 2016, FERC accepted the Transmission Service Agreements (“TSA”) and Large Generator Interconnection agreements (“LGIA”) between Western Interconnect LLC (“WI”) and three wind projects totaling 497 MW. As part of its initial filing, WI committed to holding an Open Season process to allocate up to 603 MW of remaining transmission capacity on the line, offering the same rates, terms, and conditions as reflected in the anchor customer agreements to any participants in the Open Season.
Open Season process
On October 3, 2016, WI launches their Open Season to allocate up to 603 MW of remaining transmission capacity on the 1,100 MW WI transmission line. London Economics International LLC (“LEI”) has been retained as Independent Examiner to assist in the design and administration of the Open Season, audit the results of the Open Season, and file a report with FERC attesting to the process. Specifically, LEI will provide supporting information to FERC regarding the conduct of the Open Season process and the absence of any undue discrimination or undue preference.
The following is an overview of the Open Season process. For a full description of the process, schedule, and other information, please refer to the Information Memorandum.
WI is offering to any interested party the same rates, terms, and conditions as reflected in the anchor customer agreements:
Additionally, WI will file with FERC shortly after launch of the Open Season an OATT that is substantially based on FERC’s pro forma OATT. The complete OATT document will be available on the Open Season website at the same time the filing is made.
As part of the Open Season process, any interested party may submit a binding Transmission Service Request (“TSR”) to request between 50 MW and 603 MW of transmission service rights on the WI transmission line. The deadline to submit a TSR is November 11, 2016 at 5:00 pm Mountain time. Submissions must be emailed to WesternInterconnectemail@example.com.
Submission documents will be treated as confidential by LEI, Tres Amigas LLC (“TA”) and WI. It is not necessary to execute a Non-Disclosure Agreement (“NDA”) before submitting TSR documents, however, if a party wishes to execute one, TA and WI will accommodate that request. An NDA template is available in the “Documents” section of this website; the deadline to submit an NDA request via email at WesternInterconnectfirstname.lastname@example.org is November 4, 2016.
LEI, TA and WI will evaluate all submissions to ensure they meet pre-established minimum eligibility criteria. Submissions which are deemed not to meet these minimum criteria will be discarded from further evaluation and consideration for transmission service under this Open Season.
The minimum eligibility criteria for obtaining transmission service on the WI in this Open Season are:
- Applicant must meet the Eligible Customer criteria as defined in section 1.11 of the OATT.
- Applicant must agree to all TSA and LGIA rates, terms and conditions
- Applicant further agrees to terms and conditions set forth in the OATT insofar as they are not covered under the TSA or LGIA terms & conditions
- Applicant must request a minimum of 50 MW and a maximum of 603 MW of transmission service rights on the WI
- Applicant agrees that the start of transmission service can be no later than 18 months following execution of TSA and LGIA with WI
- Applicant must be deemed creditworthy pursuant to provisions in Attachment L to the OATT
Furthermore, as part of their submission, applicants must:
- Understand and agree to rules of the Open Season process as detailed in the Information Memorandum
- Understand and agree that their application might be subject to interconnection studies, and as a result the applicant might incur additional costs for these studies or eventual upgrades either on WI’s or Public Service Company of New Mexico’s (“PNM”) transmission systems
Failure to comply with any future deadline related to funding interconnection studies or system upgrades will result in termination of the application for transmission service on the WI.
In the event that the total amount of transmission service requests meeting the minimum eligibility criteria exceeds available transmission capacity on the WI (603 MW), the following criteria (shown in order of importance) will be used to rank eligible requests:
- Project viability, to be assessed using the following criteria:
- proof of site control
- possession of a credit-worthy and commercially reasonable Power Purchase Agreement for the purchase of power delivered through the WI transmission line.
- Amount of transmission capacity requested
- Creditworthiness & financial strength
All conforming Transmission Service Requests, up to the line’s remaining available capacity (603 MW), will be accepted in order of ranking. An applicant whose requested transmission capacity is truncated (i.e. full acceptance would cause the line to be oversubscribed) will have the option to withdraw. Any remaining request in excess of 603 MW will be rejected.
WI will notify applicants whether their application for transmission rights was selected starting November 21, 2016. Depending on the total amount and nature of conforming Transmission Service Requests, WI will also notify selected applicants whether there is a need for additional interconnections studies, which might entail additional costs that the potential transmission customers must fund. In case additional studies are needed, an agreement between WI and the potential transmission customers for funding of such studies must be signed; all transmission customers thus selected will contribute financially to additional studies and eventual system upgrades according to their pro-rata share of transmission capacity awarded as part of the Open Season process.
Selected applicants must execute the TSA and LGIA agreements no later than 30 calendar days following the date where:
- Applicant is notified by WI that its Transmission Service Request was accepted, in the case where no additional interconnection studies are required, or
- The conclusion of any required additional interconnection study, and agreement by the applicant to fund necessary transmission system upgrades identified on WI or PNM’s system (if any).
Failure to comply with this deadline will result in termination of the application for transmission service on the WI pursuant to this Open Season.
At the conclusion of the Open Season process, LEI will file a report with FERC attesting to the process. Names and amount of transmission service for selected parties will be included in the filing. Additional information from non-selected parties, if any, will be aggregated and anonymized in the filing.