On August 13, 2019, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved a request by Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (MISO) to modify its Tariff and pro forma Generator Interconnection Agreement (GIA) to permit shared interconnection facilities among multiple projects in cases where all parties are amenable to such an arrangement. The Tariff modifications now allow electric generators located in MISO to share interconnection facilities through consent agreements. Previously, MISO did not permit the sharing of interconnection facilities between different projects due to the administrative and practical challenges with such arrangements. However, MISO changed its position after FERC issued Order 807, which created a blanket waiver of certain regulatory requirements, including the obligation to file an Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT), for certain entities. MISO noted that Order 807 significantly reduced the administrative complexity of many shared facilities arrangements, and led to increased interest in new interconnection arrangements as a means to speed development and/or reduce development costs. Nevertheless, generators should still be careful to meet all remaining MISO Tariff requirements for such agreements.
Informational and Consent Requirements
Under the newly approved changes to MISO’s Tariff, interconnection owners seeking to share interconnection facilities must include in their interconnection request a consent agreement executed by the applicable transmission owner and other interconnection customers. This consent must include certain information, including:
- A description of the projects’ proposed configuration,
- The proposed ownership of the interconnection facilities,
- The parties’ division of rights and responsibilities with respect to repair, operations and maintenance of the interconnection facilities, and
- Any other information pertaining to facility operations that may be specified in the Business Practice Manuals.
MISO declined to prescribe a form of consent, and indicated that it was indifferent to the parties’ form of consent so long as it comports with the foregoing informational requirements. MISO also indicated that these requirements are intended to force parties to come to full agreement before they begin the interconnection study process, thereby avoiding restudies, queue delays, and unexpected cost shifts from parties discovering late in the process that they have irreconcilable differences and withdrawing from the queue. Notably, parties who are already in MISO’s interconnection queue that wish to enter into shared facilities arrangements may do so by providing an executed consent for review and approval.
Shared Interconnection Facility Evaluation Process
FERC also accepted MISO’s proposed revisions to its Generator Interconnection Procedures (GIP) for processing shared interconnection facility requests. Under this new regime, the transmission provider must consent to interconnection requests that include shared interconnection facility requests, and consent may not be unreasonably withheld, conditioned or delayed. The transmission provider must determine whether the request comports with the consent and informational requirements described above and, accordingly, whether the transmission provider consents to the interconnection request. The applicant must be informed of the transmission provider’s decision no later than five days before the start of the scoping meeting. If the transmission provider does not consent, it must provide the applicant with a written explanation for why consent was withheld. Applicants whose requests for consent were denied may revise and resubmit their applications prior to the start of Definitive Planning Phase I.
Lastly, FERC approved amendments to MISO’s pro forma GIA to provide that interconnection customers who intend to share interconnection facilities should install metering equipment sufficient to separately measure the output of any generation facility using the shared facilities.