ERCOT Finds No Alternatives to Greens Bayou; RMR Rule Changes Advance
ERCOT will continue its reliability must-run (RMR) agreement with NRG Energy’s Greens Bayou Unit 5 after a solicitation produced no viable alternatives.
The Texas grid operator had solicited proposals for must-run alternatives (MRA) following the June 2 RMR contract with NRG Texas Power for its Houston-area unit, a 371-MW gas-fired plant. (See ERCOT Seeks Alternatives to Houston-Area RMR Unit.) The contract is projected to cost the market $60 million.
ERCOT said the MRAs it received by the Aug. 24 deadline would not “adequately meet the reliability need served by the Greens Bayou 5 unit.” It said it received eight offers from four qualified scheduling entities (QSEs) with a combined capacity of 385.9 MW for most of the contract months, but said some of those offers did not qualify as eligible MRA resources and the others did not provide an “acceptable solution to the reliability concern” necessary to replace Greens Bayou.
The Greens Bayou RMR agreement addresses reliability concerns on a Houston-area transmission line. Under the agreement, the unit will remain available during summer peak demand periods through June 2018 to support system reliability under certain critical operating conditions.
ERCOT has said the $590 million Houston Import Project, scheduled to be completed by summer 2018, will solve the RMR concern.
RMR Rule Changes Proposed
Meanwhile, the Protocol Revision Subcommittee last week advanced three nodal protocol revision requests (NPRRs) related to ERCOT’s RMR procedures. They will be taken up next week by the Technical Advisory Committee, which in July rejected an NRG request to allow the economic dispatch of RMR units. (See “Pricing Change on RMR Units Rejected, Appealed to ERCOT Board,” ERCOT Technical Advisory Committee Briefs.)
NPRR788 modifies the RMR planning studies to include forecasted peak loads and introduces a new requirement that a potential RMR unit must have “a meaningful impact on the expected transmission overload” to be considered for an agreement.
NPRR795 creates a mechanism to refund capital expenditures funded by ERCOT under an RMR agreement, if the agreement is terminated. The refund would be based on the expenditures’ depreciated book value if the resource returns to commercial operations; otherwise, it would be based on the salvage value.
NPRR793 would clarify the reliability unit commitment process to ensure RMR units are not accidentally committed as a reliability unit before other resources. The revision request adds several responsibilities for RMR unit owners, revises RMR formulas and adds further clarifications.