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United States

AWEA protests over "unfair" wind farm levy proposal

US: The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has filed a protest over utility proposals that the association says would impose unfair grid integration fees on wind farms.

AWEA lodges complaint over proposed levy
AWEA lodges complaint over proposed levy
AWEA lodged a protest with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), asking the agency to overturn a proposal by Puget Sound Energy (PSE), Washington state’s largest utility.

PSE has requested commission approval for its within-hour generation following service, which aims to provide fast-start generation capacity to compensate for variations in wind output.

PSE would levy a charge of $2.70/kW per month on wind facilities for this service.

According to AWEA, when this new charge is added on top of existing PSE rates, total regulation charges on wind farms will rise from $0.11/kW/month to $2.81/kW/month – an increase of 2,454%.

AWEA’s federal regulatory affairs director, Tom Vinson, said: "[The proposal] would impose unfair and excessive grid integration charges on wind plants while failing to charge competing fossil and nuclear-powered power plants for the far larger integration costs they impose on the power system."

PSE spokesman Roger Thompson said: "The proposed tariff is designed simply to address the load balancing costs that we as a balancing authority will incur to ensure balanced load on our system."

He said wind producers had to bear the costs because of wind power’s intermittent nature.

The Renewable Northwest Project and the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies joined AWEA’s filing.

PSE is the nation’s second-leading wind power owner among utilities. Its Lower Snake River project is expected to total 1.25GW.

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