On February 22, 2011, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Notice of Technical Conference [PDF] to be held on March 15, 2011, regarding the ownership of and priority access rights to new transmission lines. 

The Notice lists a number of pending FERC dockets which relate to requests regarding ownership of and/or priority access to new transmission facilities intended to serve renewable generation resources. The Notice states that participants at the Technical Conference should be prepared to discuss ownership and priority access rights issues in the context of both (i) independent and/or merchant transmission and (ii) generator lead lines (also known as “gen-ties”).

Issues with respect to the former include how the economics of a proposed project are affected by the Commission’s current affiliate rules and transmission pricing structures (e.g., cost-based or negotiated rates), and the need for and design of priority access mechanisms, such as open seasons and anchor shipper/tenant arrangements. Issues with respect to gen-ties include the application of the Commission’s open access policies to these facilities.

Taken as a whole, participants should be prepared to discuss the appropriate balance between the Commission’s policies on open access and non-discriminatory treatment, on the one hand, and the needs of developers of the transmission facilities on the other.

The conference is open to the public and advanced registration is not required.  Entities that are developing renewable generation resources with associated gen-ties, independent / merchant transmission developers and lenders and investors in such transmission facilities may be interested in attending and/or monitoring the conference via webcast.  The webcast is available through a link on the FERC event page

Click here for the Technical Conference agenda and additional details.