February 6 (Renewables Now) - The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has taken no action regarding Vineyard Wind LLC’s requests for a waiver and emergency motion to put off New England’s annual power-capacity auction after the developer failed to qualify in time to take part in the competition.
The motion was submitted on Monday, the date on which the Independent System Operator New England’s (ISO-NE) 13th Forward Capacity auction was initiated, according to a FERC filing. The developer of the 800-MW Vineyard project off the coast of Massachusetts has insisted that the auction is halted so as to provide it with more time to get the "renewable technology resource (RTR)" status, allowing it to participate.
Vineyard Wind sent to FERC a petition in December 2018 for waiving ISO-NE market rules and getting the RTR status, but the agency did not act on the case prior to the auction start. As per regulations, resources obtaining the RTR status have to be within the physical borders of the New England region of six states. They are exempted from the auction’s minimum offer price rule (MOPR) and are thus allowed to bid at lower prices.
In a statement on the matter, Democrat Commissioners Cheryl LaFleur and Richard Glick condemned FERC's failure to act, saying it "introduced significant uncertainty into this auction," which allocates capacity for the period between June 1, 2022, to May 31, 2023. Vineyard Wind, meanwhile, claimed that it would suffer “irreparable injury” if it is not allowed to take part in the bidding.
FERC last month approved a request by ISO-NE and the New England Power Pool Participants Committee (NEPOOL), which together run the regional electricity market, to provide access in the auction to companies with offshore wind resources.
Vineyard Wind, a 50/50 partnership between Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and Avangrid Renewables LLC, was in May 2018 selected as the winner in Massachusetts' solicitation for up to 800 MW of offshore wind capacity and in December won another lease area off Martha’s Vineyard in an auction by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. It has just secured certification by the Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) for the final environmental impact report (FEIR) for the 800-MW project, a press release from Tuesday says. The move enables it to proceed with the state, regional and local permitting process for what will be the US’ first utility-scale offshore wind farm.