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Yet another FERC lawsuit is drowning Invenergy’s power plant plans



Invenergy, the company that wants to build a $1 billion fracked gas and diesel oil burning power plant in the unspoiled forests of north west Rhode Island is now drowning in lawsuits. Yesterday, Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and the Town of Burrillville sent a letter to the Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB), the state agency responsible for deciding on Invenergy’s application, asking that the Board take “administrative notice” of a new lawsuit filed against Invenergy at the Federal Energy Regulatory Agency (FERC) on December 21.

Invenergy is already involved in two lawsuits at FERC. The two lawsuits were instigated by Invenergy against National Grid and ISO New England.

This new lawsuit, explains Jerry Elmer, senior attorney at CLF, “asks FERC to order the ISO to involuntarily terminate Invenergy’s Capacity Supply Obligation (CSO) on Invenergy’s Turbine One now, before the next Forward Capacity Auction (FCA) is conducted in February, instead of waiting until June to involuntarily terminate the CSO on Turbine One.”

Invenergy has proposed to build two turbines in Rhode Island. Due to delays in permitting, ISO New England has denied Invenergy the opportunity to enter its second turbine in the next FCA, to be held in February. These auctions are the way energy prices and sources are determined in New England. Power plants that can’t sell power in these auctions make no money. The next auction, FCA-12, will determine energy prices and sources in New England for the years 2021-2022.

The new lawsuit, brought by the Calpine Corporation and LS Power Associates LP, argues, according to the letter from CLF and Burrillville, that Invenergy’s proposed power plant “will not exist.”

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Those words, “will not exist,” are the exact words of the lawsuit, writes Attorney Elmer, “not Turbine One, not Turbine Two, not anything. And the legal papers make a pretty convincing case of it, too.”

In their letter to the EFSB, CLF and Burrillville explain:

Invenergy “has decided not to execute a Large Generator Interconnection Agreement (LGIA) for the project” and because the LGIA was not executed by December 1, 2017, “any chance of the Clear River Project achieving even the newly “targeted commercial operation date of June 1, 2021 would appear to be out the window.” These facts are not news to this EFSB, because CLF and Burrillville presented the same facts to the EFSB in our December 11 Letter.

However, Calpine’s second argument may be new to the EFSB. The ISO has already disqualified Invenergy’s Turbine Two from even participating in FCA-12 because the ISO has determined that Turbine Two cannot and will not be operational by June 2021. However, Calpine says, Turbines One and Two “face identical permitting delays’ and have identical development and construction schedules. Thus, Calpine argues, the ISO must act now to involuntarily terminate Invenergy’s 485 MW CSO on Turbine One – for the exact same reason that the ISO has already disqualified Invenergy’s Turbine Two from FCA-12.

That is, the ISO has already disqualified Invenergy’s Turbine Two from participating in FCA-12 because the ISO recognized, correctly, that Turbine Two cannot and will not be operational in 2021-2022. Calpine is asking FERC to direct the ISO not to allow the 485 MW of phantom power to distort the results of the same auction, because Turbine One will not exist is 2021-2022 either.

Invenergy’s previous lawsuits at FERC have accumulated a vast array of opposition, including as of this writing, ISO New England, the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE), the New England Power Pool, the Maine Public Utilities Commission, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, the Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel, other big energy generators such as Dominion, NextEra and NRG.

Barring further delays, on January 30, 2018, Invenergy will be before the EFSB for a show-cause hearing trying to convince the Board not to close the application until all the lawsuits at FERC are settled. CLF and Burrillville are asking the EFSB to take this new lawsuit into consideration as well.

“With each passing day,” writes Jerry Elmer, “it appears less and less likely that Invenergy will ever be built.”

See also:

How to understand Invenergy’s lawsuits against National Grid and ISO New England

Fall River City Council continues to investigate water deal with Invenergy

Public testimony at the Special Legislative Committee to Study the Energy Facilities Siting Act

Invenergy must show-cause at hearing to avoid indefinite suspension of power plant plans

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