The California Independent System Operator Corporation Board of Governors has approved changes that will help power plant developers better react to changing business conditions that trigger the downsizing of projects, many of which are often highly scalable renewable generators.
The new interconnection changes will provide an annual process for developers to submit a request to reduce the megawatt size of their project for any reason beginning in October 2014. The changes will allow developers to adapt projects to fit within a more flexible business model.
"Building wind and solar generation or any type of power plant can take five to seven years and the business climate can change significantly during that time span", said Vice President, Market and Infrastructure Development, Keith Casey. "These enhancements to our interconnection queue enable developers to complete projects without being subjected to risks beyond their control."
Proposed projects enter the ISO interconnection queue as part of a first step in hooking up to the high-voltage grid. ISO engineers study the projects to determine interconnection costs and any reliability impacts. Allowing this flexibility means developers no longer face the threat of their interconnection agreement being terminated by the ISO for failing to meet original specifications. And to further address the concern, the ISO clarified it will not terminate a project solely because of a failure to complete the project at the size originally proposed, provided the developers participate in the annual downsizing window.
When generation projects decide to downsize, it can affect other projects in the queue by changing the scope and costs of the network upgrades required. Therefore, the ISO will study the combined impacts of each year's downsizing requests within the annual generator interconnection process. To offset possible effects on other developers, downsized projects will be obligated to finance the cost of any network upgrades that resulted from the original project size. In addition, developers modifying the size of projects will provide a $60,000 deposit toward the costs incurred by the ISO and the transmission owners to perform and administer the annual downsizing window.