NESCOE Submission Regarding Transmission Needs Driven by State and Federal Public Policy Requirements
May 1, 2017
Pursuant to Section 4A.1 of Attachment K of the ISO New England Inc. (“ISO-NE”) Open Access Transmission Tariff (the “OATT”), the New England States Committee on Electricity (“NESCOE”) hereby provides this submission to ISO-NE regarding transmission needs driven by state and federal Public Policy Requirements (“PPRs”).
NESCOE has carefully considered the input that members of the ISO-NE Planning Advisory Committee (the “Stakeholders”) have provided regarding state or federal policy-driven transmissions needs. NESCOE is not requesting that ISO-NE initiate a Public Policy Transmission Study in the current planning cycle. NESCOE has determined that, at this time and for the reasons discussed below, there are no state or federal PPRs “driving transmission needs relating to the New England Transmission System.”
As part of this communication, in accordance with the OATT, NESCOE explains why Stakeholder-identified transmission needs will not be evaluated for potential solutions. While not required by the OATT, given Stakeholders’ focus on individual state laws, the explanation regarding those state laws is provided in the form of responses from the NESCOE Manager(s) of each New England state. These responses, which are attached, are hereby incorporated into and made a part of this NESCOE submission. Regarding the one Stakeholder’s assertion that there is a federal PPR that drives a transmission need, NESCOE discusses below its evaluation of this assertion.
Stakeholder-identified state PPRs driving a transmission need
At this time and for the reasons each state provides in the attached responses, no New England state has determined that the Stakeholder-identified laws of its state drive a transmission need for the current planning cycle.
Stakeholder-identified federal PPRs driving a transmission need
Only one Stakeholder, National Grid, asserts that there is a federal policy that in its view drives a transmission need. National Grid cites to Presidential Permit 76-1 and 10 C.F.R §§ 205.320 to 205.329 as the PPR driving such a need. National Grid states that “Article 3 of Presidential Permit 76-1 requires that ‘operating studies shall be performed on an ongoing basis to: identify, from time to time, regional conditions under which the permitted facilities may be operated in isolated mode at the 2000 MW level, without jeopardizing regional reliability or placing restrictions on the’ Mid-Atlantic and Northeast system.” National Grid further states that “[t]ransmission facilities or upgrades are needed to facilitate the increase of hydroelectric energy procurement to separate the power source feeding into the HVDC Phase I/II line between Quebec and New England.”
While NESCOE appreciates National Grid’s efforts to explore approaches aimed at bringing “economic, reliability, and environmental benefits” to the region, NESCOE does not believe that there is a sufficient basis at this time to warrant ISO-NE’s evaluation of solutions to the issue raised by National Grid.
At the outset, Presidential Permit 76-1 does not meet the definition of a PPR under the Tariff. The Tariff defines a PPR as “a requirement reflected in a statute enacted by, or a regulation promulgated by, the federal government or a state or local (e.g., municipal or county) government.”4 Section 4A.1 of Attachment K limits stakeholders to providing input on PPRs.5 National Grid cites to federal regulations that are of general applicability to presidential permits, and it states that Presidential Permit 76-1 implements these regulations. The permit at issue is not a PPR, and NESCOE is concerned about setting any precedent that expands the definition to regulatory activities beyond what the Tariff prescribes.
Even if this were a PPR, the purpose of Article 3 of Presidential Permit 76-1 is to set forth operational “conditions and limitations.” NESCOE interprets the required operational studies under the permit as a means to monitor the reliability impact that the Phase I/II facilities might have on the system and to examine how to operate the existing grid consistent with maintaining reliability. National Grid’s comments appear to confuse such operational study requirements with a need for new or upgraded transmission facilities. To the extent National Grid is asserting that these provisions constitute a federal directive relative to transmission infrastructure, NESCOE does not draw the same conclusion. The presidential permit cited by National Grid does not support the initiation of a Public Policy Transmission Study.
NESCOE appreciates ISO-NE’s efforts in initiating the process for a Public Policy Transmission Study, as well as the engagement of Stakeholders in this first public policy planning cycle. NESCOE looks forward to working with ISO-NE and others in connection with future planning cycles that will consider whether policy needs should be evaluated for regional transmission solutions.
[see pdf version for attached state responses]