FERC grants waiver to Robinson Power's 651-MW gas project in Pennsylvania

Developer shooting to get this plant in operation by June 2018

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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Feb. 20 granted Robinson Power Co. LLC, which is developing a 651-MW gas-fired power plant in Pennsylvania, a waiver related to the PJM Interconnection auction process.

Notable is that this is the company that at one point last decade was looking to develop a coal-fired project at this location that would have burned waste coal from a vast pile from long ago mining located at the power plant site.

Robinson Power on Jan. 30 had petitioned FERC for a limited, one-time waiver of the Competitive Entry Exemption deadlines in PJM's Open Access Transmission Tariff. Robinson Power sought this waiver to allow it to request a Competitive Entry Exemption from the Minimum Offer Price Rule (MOPR) for a new combined-cycle, gas-fired generation plant it is developing in Washington County, Pa.

The deadline for submitting a request for a Competitive Entry Exemption to the Office of the Interconnection and the PJM Market Monitoring Unit (MMU) for the 2018/2019 Base Residual Auction (BRA) was Dec. 27, 2014. Robinson Power requested that the commission grant expedited action for this petition for limited waiver by Feb. 20 so that it may submit its Competitive Entry Exemption no later than Feb. 27. Expedited action on this petition is warranted in order to provide the Office of the Interconnection and the MMU with sufficient time to consider Robinson Power’s request for a Competitive Entry Exemption in time for the 2018/2019 BRA, which begins on May 11.

Robinson Power said it acted diligently and in good faith to promptly request a waiver once it determined that its project could achieve an in-service date in time for the 2018/2019 delivery year. In addition, Robinson Power said it discussed this petition for waiver with the MMU prior to filing.

The company's project will use the Siemens SCC6-5000F 2X1 Flex-Plant Integrated Combined Cycle design comprised of two Siemens Gas SGT6-5000F turbines. The project includes an advanced design heat recovery steam generator suitable for fast starting and daily cycling as needed and an air-cooled condenser to minimize cooling water requirements, which will minimize waste water discharge. No new transmission lines will be required as a part of the project. The site is a graded, grubbed, cleared and fully stabilized 38-acre parcel located adjacent to a waste coal pile in the heart of the Western Pennsylvania Marcellus gas region. That is the pile that would have fueled the old, coal-fired version of this project.

The current project provides local gas producers a stable “sink” for gas deliveries and an opportunity to fully utilize contracts with regional pipeline companies and attain more favorable netback prices, the company said. Its supply requirements provide local pipeline companies an incentive to expand pipeline and storage facilities. Multiple gas supply and associated firm operational delivery options to the plant are available.

Robinson Power submitted the required PJM feasibility study on March 31, 2014, and the System Impact Study on Dec. 1, 2014, and is queue number Z2-064. The interconnection point is the FE Smith-N. Fayette 138-kV line with rights-of-way secured from the project site. Robinson Power anticipates that it will receive the Interconnection Service Agreement and Construction Service Agreement from PJM in the fourth quarter of 2015 and estimates that the plant will become operational in June 2018.

Said the Feb. 20 FERC approval: "We find that good cause exists to grant Robinson Power’s unopposed request for waiver.  Robinson Power maintains that it failed to meet the deadline due to a good faith belief that it needed to be confident that its unit would be constructed and in-service prior to the Delivery Year for which it sought to participate in the Base Residual Auction. We find that, while this is an incorrect reading of the Tariff, Robinson Power acted in good faith. Thereafter, Robinson Power has promptly sought a waiver to allow it to apply for a Competitive Entry Exemption for its Project. Second, we find that the requested waiver is a one-time waiver and is limited in scope, in that it is limited solely to the procedural deadlines for one auction and the waiver will apply only to Robinson Power’s own request for a Competitive Entry Exemption for the Project. Third, we find that the waiver will remedy a concrete problem and enable Robinson Power to seek a MOPR exemption in time to allow the Project’s capacity to enter into the Base Residual Auction. Fourth, we find that granting the requested waiver will not lead to undesirable consequences for PJM or any third parties. In addition, according to Robinson Power, it discussed this petition for waiver with the MMU prior to filing; moreover, no parties opposed the request."

A project contact is: Raymond J. Bologna, Robinson Power Co. LLC, Project Development Lead, PO Box 127, Burgettstown, PA 15021, Telephone (724) 947-0742, Fax (724) 947-1968, rjb1900@aol.com.

Barry Cassell
About the Author

Barry Cassell

Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 26 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.

Barry can be reached at barryc@pennwell.com.

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