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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - March 1 2000

repairs are needed or financial problems occur.)

NIRS also claimed that British Energy has engaged in massive cost-cutting efforts resulting in compromises to health and safety. The petition seeks a hearing before the three-judge Atomic Safety and Licensing Board.

Hydro Relicensing. Having chosen the FERC's alternative relicensing process for its Bagnell Dam in Missouri, AmerenUE has scheduled a series of public hearings and about 120 individuals or groups have expressed an interest in testifying about management of the Ozark Lake, Missouri's largest lake, which the dam created.

Ameren's 30-year license expires Feb. 28, 2006, so it must apply to the FERC by Feb. 28, 2004 for a new license for the Osage Hydroelectric Project.

Renewable Energy. The Texas PUC has created a renewable energy credits trading program and adopted other rules to help implement a provision in the Texas electric restructuring law (Senate Bill 7) that requires installation of 2,000 additional megawatts of renewable generating capacity in Texas by 2009.

The mandate calls for the state to increase its renewable resources from the current level of about 880 MW to 1,280 MW by 2003, 1,730 MW by 2005, 2,280 MW by 2007 and 2,880 MW by 2009. The rules require that companies that sell electricity in the competitive retail market will have to buy a "fair share" of energy supplies from renewable resources to sell to end-users.

TRANSMISSION & ISOS

Mountain West Funding. The FERC authorized the Mountain West Independent System Administrator and approved a two-part tariff plan consisting of (1) transmission owner tariffs for the provision of transmission services, and (2) an ISA tariff for administering ancillary services and managing congestion using physical transmission rights (firm, recallable and nonfirm) sold at auction. In the same case, the FERC granted authority to Sierra Pacific Power and Nevada Power to transfer control of transmission facilities to the ISA.

Earlier, on Dec. 21, MW ISA chair Rosalie Day had threatened to suspend all activities until a source of funding could be found. On Jan. 20, the Nevada PUC had decided that it could not guarantee cost recovery for the ISA, and had asked the FERC to expedite review to ensure that startup funds might be made available to Mountain West as soon as possible after authorization. Docket Nos. ER99-3719-000 (authorization), EC99-100-000 (transfer), Jan. 27, 2000, 90 FERC 61,067.

Congestion Management. The FERC accepted a new method proposed by the California Independent System Operator to manage intrazonal congestion that is designed to compensate power producers more effectively for fuel-related startup costs so as to encourage them to bid more often to supply power for congestion relief.

Otherwise, the FERC ruled that the ISO lacks authority to force the redispatch of generating units to manage intrazonal congestion when the ISO believes that such congestion, coupled with a lack of bids for congestion relief, will threaten the integrity of a competitive power market. That might occur if there is only one generator located on the export side of a constraint. (Though the FERC acknowledged ISO authority to force redispatch only where intrazonal congestion threatens reliability.)

Power producers