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Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

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Commissioner Tony Clark Statement
October 17, 2013
Docket Nos. QM13-2-000 & QM13-2-001
Item No. E-4

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Joint Statement with Commissioner Philip D. Moeller on PPL Electric Utilities Corporation

“Insofar as this decision generally comports with Commission precedent we support it, but we would encourage the Commission to consider how it can provide more guidance to applicants such as PPL Electric regarding how they can be relieved of PURPA obligations for 20 MW and below facilities.

“The Commission’s regulations provide for a rebuttable presumption that a qualifying facility (QF) at or below 20 megawatts does not have nondiscriminatory access to the market. To overcome that presumption, the electric utility must provide QF-specific information demonstrating nondiscriminatory access. Here, PPL Electric uses unit-specific information to support its application, as provided by the developer, IPS Power Engineering, in its self-certification of the Souderton QF. The question, then, should be whether PPL Electric provided the Commission with enough evidence to determine that the Souderton QF indeed has nondiscriminatory access to the PJM market.

“While we concur with the overall finding in this order and agree that PPL’s application lacked certain QF-specific information required under the Commission’s regulations, such as a system impact study for the interconnection, we do not agree that the PJM market rules and planning process are irrelevant for purposes of determining QF-specific market access. These provisions are fundamental to our evaluation of whether the Souderton QF will have nondiscriminatory access to the markets, as they provide the playbook for the interconnection process, transmission system operations, and revenues earned by a resource in the region where the Souderton QF will be located.

“It’s important that the Commission’s standard for rebutting the presumption not be so high as to preclude a utility from successfully making a showing before the QF is fully operational and the utility is obligated to purchase. Such a circular result would not be a reasonable interpretation of the statute or our own regulations. By considering unit-specific information submitted by an applicant, alongside the opportunities available to suppliers through open markets in an RTO, we can prevent this outcome and avoid rendering meaningless the opportunity to rebut the presumption and obtain PURPA relief.

“For these reasons, we respectfully concur with this order.”