NERC Registration of Generators as Transmission Owners and Operators? FERC is Facing the Decision.


On October 27, and November 1, 2010, two wind generation projects, Cedar Creek Wind Energy, LLC (Cedar Creek) and Milford Wind Corridor Phase I, LLC (Milford), appealed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) decisions by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) requiring each to register as transmission owner (TO) and transmission operator (TOP) for purposes of compliance with NERC's mandatory reliability standards. NERC determined each of Cedar Creek's and Milford's radial generation interconnection tie lines are "integrated transmission elements," and because each exceeds 100 kV in size, are by definition a "transmission facility," requiring their owners and operators to register as TO/TOPs for reliability compliance purposes.

In their appeals, Cedar Creek (Docket No. RC11-1-000) and Milford (Docket No. RC11-2-000) argue that NERC misapplied its registration criteria to their generator tie line interconnection facilities, arguing that they are not integrated with the bulk power system (BPS),1 and as such, do not qualify for TO/TOP registration under the NERC Registry Criteria.

The central fight in each case is the TO/TOP definition of an "integrated transmission element." If FERC upholds NERC's decisions, NERC may have precedent to register as TO/TOPs all generation projects with generator lead lines of 100 kV or more, if those projects are currently registered as Generator Owners (GO) or Generator Operators (GOP). Registration as TO/TOPs requires generators to comply with additional and burdensome mandatory reliability standards.

The deadlines to file motions to intervene and protests are November 26, 2010 for the Cedar Creek appeal and December 1, 2010 for the Milford appeal.


Cedar Creek owns and operates a 300 MW wind generation facility located in Colorado that is connected to a switching station through its 72-mile, 230 kV radial generation interconnection tie line and associated equipment connected to the BPS. Milford owns and operates a 203.5 MW wind generation project located in Utah which, through several 34.5 kV collection lines, is connected to its 88-mile, 345 kV radial generation interconnection tie line, two 362 kV/34.5 kV transformers, circuit breakers, and related equipment connected to the BPS.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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