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FERC - Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

10/16/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/16/2020 16:44

Item E-18: Commissioner Richard Glick Concurrence Regarding Vineyard Wind LLC

Commissioner Richard Glick Statement
October 15, 2020
Docket No.ER19-570-000
Order:
E-18

I agree that Vineyard Wind LLC's waiver request is now moot. Vineyard Wind sought the waiver so that it could utilize the Renewable Technology Resource (RTR) exemption in ISO New England Inc.'s 13th Forward Capacity Auction (FCA).[1]Vineyard Wind's waiver request was necessary only after ISO New England adopted a 'confounding interpretation'[2]of its tariff that excluded state-sponsored resources under development in federal waters from qualifying for the RTR exemption.[3]At this point, nearly two years after FCA 13 was conducted, it is fair to conclude that the waiver request is now moot. But finding the request moot only obfuscates how this entire process has been bungled from the start.

As an initial matter, ISO New England's misinterpretation of the RTR exemption served as a troubling indication of the problems ahead for its then-novel Competitive Auctions with Sponsored Policy Resources (CASPR) construct. As I explained in my partial dissent from the order accepting CASPR, while the design had some appeal, whether it would ultimately prove just and reasonable would turn on how effectively it accommodated state state-sponsored resources.[4]On that score, CASPR deserves a failing grade. Only 54 MW of state-sponsored resources cleared in CASPR's substitution auction for FCA 13[5]and 0 MW cleared in the substitution auction for FCA 14.[6]The bottom line is that making constructs like CASPR and the RTR exemption succeed in accommodating state public policies takes a level of pragmatism and a commitment to that goal that appears to have been absent from ISO New England's interpretation of the RTR exemption.

Finally, it is inexcusable that the Commission is addressing this waiver only now, almost two years after Vineyard Wind filed its request. If the Commission believed that Vineyard Wind did not deserve a waiver, it should have had the courage to issue an order and explain why on the record. The Commission should not be permitted to hide and wait until the matter becomes moot. Moreover, there is absolutely no reason to prolong the uncertainty for all entities, but especially the party seeking waiver, by sitting on the request for months or years, as it did here.

For these reasons, I respectfully concur.

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[1]Vineyard Wind LLC, 172 FERC ¶ 61,058, at P 6 (2020) (Order).

[2]ISO New England Inc., 166 FERC ¶ 61,061 (2019) (Glick, Comm'r, dissenting in part at 2). I recognize that ISO New England strenuously disagrees with this characterization. See ISO New England Inc., Letter, Docket No. ER19-444-000, at 1-2 (filed Feb. 15, 2019). But the fact of the matter is that ISO New England's tariff did not contemplate how to apply the RTR exemption to resources not physically located in any particular state. Construing that ambiguity to mean that only resources physically located in a particular state are eligible for the RTR exemption, is not, in my view, a reasonable interpretation of that provision and it certainly does not evince a serious interest in accommodating state public policies.

[3]Order, 172 FERC ¶ 61,058 at P 3.

[4]ISO New England Inc., 162 FERC ¶ 61,205 (2018) (Glick, Comm'r, dissenting in part and concurring in part at 7).

[5]See ISO New England Inc., New England's Forward Capacity Auction Closes with Adequate Power System Resources for 2022-2023 (Feb. 6, 2019), https://www.iso-ne.com/static-assets/documents/2019/02/20190206_pr_fca13_initial_ results.pdf. Oddly enough, those 54 MW came from Vineyard Wind and only because it did not qualify for the RTR exemption. Id.

[6]See ISO New England Inc., New England's Forward Capacity Auction Closes with Adequate Power System Resources for 2023-2024 (Feb. 5, 2020), https://www.iso-ne.com/static-assets/documents/2020/02/20200205_pr_fca14_initial_ results.pdf.