The 2009 changes were due in part to the fact that the number of pending connection requirements was at a record high, making it impractical for SPP to effectively manage the queue and effectively review requirements under the previous series approach, resulting in processing delays. The developers of the generation had asked FERC to make a letter of deficiency to prove that SPP has sufficient staff and resources to implement the three-step study process. They also expressed concern about the provision of results from systemic studies and study reports on the facilities involved in the PPS and argued that informed business decisions as to whether they should move through the queue were based on such information. “These ad hoc studies have diverted resources from the processing of new login requests to determine the impact of project withdrawals on projects with lower queues, which has the effect of doubling studies and creating uncertainty for liaison clients,” SPP said in its April submission, in which the new procedure was proposed. The FERC command allows SPP to deviate from the generator connection procedures and the 2003 pro forma interconnection agreement defined in the FERC command, in order to create a three-step study process with increasing financial milestones at each stage. The revised procedure provides for certain points in the study process to allow customers to withdraw their login request. FERC`s approval of SPP`s structured and streamlined interconnection review process resulted in the rejection of several applications by Enel Green Power North America Inc. and EDF Renewables Inc. The Southwest Power Pool has been given the green light to pursue a new three-step interconnection study procedure, which aims to avoid further cascading studies triggered by developers who save projects late in the process. “The proposed revisions are designed to make the interconnection process safer for customers who have real projects and have deadlines to meet their operating dates.
While the process introduced in the 2009 queue reform was very successful in eliminating the delay in interconnection requirements in the IG queue that could not receive a liaison study and finalizing GIs to meet these interconnection requirements, the proposed 2013 process should provide a clear pathway for a generator to be put into commercial service. SPP is a regional transportation organization (RTO) with 74 members, including 14 utilities, 11 municipal systems, 13 production and transmission cooperatives, 4 public agencies, 11 independent electricity producers, 12 electricity distributors and nine independent transmission companies.