PSC wants more repowering information

The mid-July heat wave that struck much of the northeast may have an effect on the outcome of the state’s Public Service Commission decision on repowering the Dunkirk NRG Energy Inc. power plant.

In a notice issued Friday by the PSC, the commission states it is requiring additional information and a technical conference. A big part of the need for the additional information is due to recent filings with the PSC by both NRG and National Grid.

On Aug. 16, NRG submitted supplemental information about the heat wave and how the mothballing of its coal-fired plant played a role in what happened across the electric grid.

According to the PSC notice, NRG’s filing stated the mothballing of its 445 megawatts at Dunkirk resulted in “significantly changed power flows” and “significant constraints and congestion.” NRG contends that this information is relevant to the determination of the benefits associated with the proposed repowering of the Dunkirk plant and should be included in the comparative assessment among the alternatives under consideration.

National Grid filed its supplemental information on Aug. 19. That filing stated that preliminary results from Grid’s periodic system review and planning process using new base case information developed in 2013, which included increased load forecasts in western New York, indicated that some of the transmission investments considered to be avoidable under the previous base case if Dunkirk repowered may no longer be avoidable. In addition, under the new base case, other transmission projects may be identified as avoidable. Further, changes in the base case also affect the amount of generation needed to address reliability issues.

In that Aug. 19 filing, National Grid suggested that supplemental procedures may be needed in this proceeding. That seems to be exactly what the PSC will do, take the issues raised by NRG to a further review.

According to its notice, the Department of Public Service Staff will coordinate with NRG, the New York Independent System Operator Inc., National Grid, New York State Electric & Gas Corporation, and the New York Power Authority to analyze the impacts of the system congestion identified by NRG.

The PSC also stated National Grid should file the final results of its system review and planning process with the PSC by Aug. 30 for review and evaluation. A technical conference with interested parties to review results of the review will be held no later than Oct. 15.

To find all the filings on the case, go to www.dps.ny.gov, then click on the box marked commission documents and enter 12-E-0577 in the search by case number box. Viewers can then pick from filed documents, public comments, party list or a calendar listing.

Send comments to gsnyder@observertoday.com