Vistra’s concerns over the California Independent System Operator’s proposal for an expedited interconnection track for “emergency” resources lacks “any merit,” the grid operator said Friday in a filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
CAISO urged FERC to reject Vistra’s claim that the emergency interconnection process could give emergency resources preferential access to deliverable capacity, saying they would only receive temporary “interim deliverability,” which represents unused transmission capacity.
“The tariff revisions regarding the emergency interconnection process … are either already worded as specifically as existing CAISO tariff language previously approved by the commission or can be supplemented with implementation detail, in the appropriate business practice manual, if needed,” the grid operator said.
Last month, CAISO proposed at FERC a broad set of interconnection reforms that included provisions governing reviews for emergency power supplies.
California lawmakers approved a budget bill in late June that contained $5.2 billion to support 5,000 MW of emergency reserve capacity to help the state handle potential power supply shortfalls.
In its filing Friday, CAISO pushed back against arguments raised by Vistra concerning the proposed interconnection reforms.
“Vistra’s assertion that the emergency interconnection process will induce a deluge of new requests for such interconnections is wholly unsupported,” CAISO said. “Nor is there any merit to Vistra’s claim that the emergency interconnection process may give resources that take part in the process unduly preferential access to deliverable capacity.”
In response to Vistra’s argument that more detail is needed in how CAISO will review whether a proposed interconnection would ease an emergency, the grid operator said it wouldn’t approve interconnections that interconnection studies show wouldn’t alleviate the emergency.
“The developer would need to pursue interconnection using other existing procedures,” CAISO said.
CAISO also argued Vistra’s claim that the grid operator faces a pending flood of emergency interconnection requests was off-base, saying the company’s position was speculative and that Vistra misunderstands the nature of the “emergency capacity” addressed in the just-passed budget.
“This is capacity that would be procured in addition to existing resource adequacy obligations and available for dispatch during grid emergencies, not necessarily capacity needed on an expedited basis,” CAISO said.
The emergency reserve may include a variety of generation and load reduction resources, only some of which might be new generation that could require emergency interconnection, the grid operator said.
CAISO said there are various criteria that must be met to be eligible for the proposed emergency interconnection process, including: the governor needs to identify an emergency that requires capacity on an expedited basis; the interconnection would not affect the cost or timing of any existing interconnection requests; the interconnection does not require network upgrades costing more than $1 million; and the upgrades can be built in less than six months.
Only a limited amount of new generation will be able to meet all the requirements for an emergency interconnection, according to the grid operator.