Salt River Project
1500 N. Mill Avenue
Tempe, AZ 85288
RE: Integrated System Plan and Stakeholder Engagement
Salt River Project and Board,
The Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA) requested to be a part of the Integrated System Plan (ISP) stakeholder group in 2022. That request was denied. AriSEIA also requested to be included in the Sustainability Advisory Council and, to date, that has also not been granted. It is unclear why AriSEIA continues to be excluded from all formal SRP stakeholder processes. Therefore, AriSEIA submits the following comments on Item 4 of the October 2nd Board Meeting:
SRP should be required to issue All Source Requests for Proposals (ASRFPs) for all major procurements of generating resources. Those ASRFPs should be vetted through the ISP stakeholder process, as Arizona Public Service (APS) has started to do. The ISP stakeholder process should not exclude stakeholders that request inclusion, especially if they are well established organizations that participate in the resource planning processes of every other major utility in the state. Additionally, no stakeholder process should purposely exclude an entire stakeholder segment, such as renewable energy organizations. Such a stance needlessly excludes valuable expertise from what should be a technically robust process. Meetings should also be virtual or hybrid. In person meetings, such as has been the case for the last two, exclude many stakeholders. Stakeholders that are out of the Phoenix metro area, have small children, or cannot devote multiple hours to commuting to and from SRP are excluded. The other major utilities all have remote options for stakeholder participation.
Further, the ISP stakeholder process should be meaningful. There should be an exchange of information in both directions and the utility should be willing to make modifications based on stakeholder feedback, run requested portfolios, and provide the modeling inputs and results to stakeholders. Board members should familiarize themselves with the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) process and should hold SRP to a similar standard, as you all serve as the regulator of SRP.
SRP has been holding meetings on the ISP for more than two years. The board should be voting on a resource plan, not three vague slides called “strategies.” That is not adequate oversight of an unregulated monopoly. The “strategies” provide no meaningful information as to what the utility plans to do regarding RFPs, procurement, or implementation of their sustainability goals. The 2017-2019 resource plan was much more detailed and it completely neglected major procurements, such as the Coolidge expansion.
SRP is the only major utility in the state that does not have an exit date for all coal; does not have a mass based carbon emissions goal; and has pursued major gas plant expansions that were never in a resource plan or RFP. The board should demand that the company do better. You are the only oversight on the second largest utility in the state.
/s/ Autumn T. Johnson
AriSEIA Submits Letter to Line Siting Opposing Requirement of System Impact Studies to Obtain a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility
Line Siting Committee
Arizona Corporation Commission
1200 W. Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007-2996
RE: Obed Meadows CEC, Docket No. L-21254A-23-0184-00222
Chairman and Committee Members,
The Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA) submits this letter in opposition to requiring a System Impact Study (SIS) in advance of obtaining a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility (CEC). The legal briefs of the applicant, Arizona Public Service (APS), and Tucson Electric Power (TEP) all agree that such a requirement is outside the authority of the Line Siting Committee. Further, such a requirement would needlessly delay gen-tie applications. The legislature via HB 2496 and the Commission via dockets RLS-00000A-23-0251 and ALS-00000A-22-0320 and the Governor’s Office via signature of HB 2496, have all indicated that the goal of the State of Arizona is to expedite these renewable energy projects, not add additional bureaucratic hurdles and delay. The Line Siting Committee has been issuing CECs without SISs and it is not clear why that would need to change now.
Testimony in this case, as well as the legal brief of APS, make clear that the absence of a SIS is not the fault of the applicant. There is a backlog of these studies, which is outside the control of renewable energy developers. Transmission Providers throughout the state of Arizona, including the state’s two largest utilities: APS and Salt River Project (SRP), are currently working through significant queue reforms to address interconnection backlogs. Proposed queue reforms will materially impact the timeline of interconnection studies, the requirements for projects to enter and stay in the interconnection queue, and the commercial expectations of projects when bidding into Request for Proposals (RFPs). Such queue reform is expected to introduce withdrawal penalties that will fundamentally change the way a project is developed, creating a new model whereby a project is incentivized to first acquire all its permits (including a CEC), obtain off-take, and then enter the interconnection queue. Having a SIS prior to filing for a CEC would be counter to the intent of queue reform, and a third-party power flow study would be expensive and redundant to already required utility interconnection studies. While the timeline around queue reform implementation is uncertain, FERC Order 2023 indicates an effective date is likely by the end of 2023 or in early 2024.
AriSEIA strongly advocates that the Line Siting Committee adhere to the purpose and intent of the Line Siting statute (A.R.S. 40-360.06); its prior decisions on applications that did not have a SIS; the clear intent of the legislature, Governor’s Office, and Commission to reduce Line Siting delay; and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) queue reform process and not require a SIS prior to obtaining a CEC. A requirement to have a SIS may have unintended consequences that limit the ability for projects to reach operations in a timely manner.
/s/ Autumn T. Johnson
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