Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) is a generation and transmission cooperative and serves as the wholesale power supplier for Arkansas’ 17 distribution cooperatives. AECC and its member cooperatives serve approximately 62% of the geographical area of Arkansas and approximately 30% of the total load in the state.
Although AECC covers the majority of Arkansas, the number of transmission facilities owned by AECC is limited. AECC has four transmission lines considered to be part of the interconnected Bulk Electric System as defined by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). The remaining AECC transmission facilities are transmission substations, generator interconnections, or radial lines to load-serving distribution substations.
Instead of owning a contiguous transmission system, AECC utilizes contract arrangements with Entergy Arkansas Inc. (Entergy), the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), American Electric Power (AEP), Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OGE), and the Southwestern Power Administration (SWPA). Under the provisions of these contracts, AECC works closely with the transmission owners to ensure that interconnections are adequately planned, designed and constructed in order to ensure the reliability of the Bulk Electric System.
AECC is subject to the regulations set forth by the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC) and the mandatory NERC Reliability Standards. These responsibilities, obligations and rules along with the generator interconnection rules set forth by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, are the basis for AECC’s interconnection process. AECC is not directly FERC jurisdictional, however, AECC utilizes the FERC processes to ensure requests are treated consistently and fairly and to expedite the request in the event there are third party impacts. Because AECC facilities are so interconnected to those of Entergy, AEP, OGE and SWPA there is a real likelihood that an interconnection on an AECC system will create an impact on another transmission owners system. In the event that a request would create a third party impact, the third party has the right to study the impacts of the interconnection using their own processes. In the case of Entergy and AEP, OGE and SPP, they are under the jurisdiction of FERC and are required to use the FERC process. As a result, hopefully the impact would be reduced in the case of that a third party study is required.
This document covers three forms of interconnection: the interconnection of generator facilities, transmission facilities and end-user facilities for serving load. AECC processes and evaluates each interconnection request on a case-by-case basis. Since most requests for end-user facilities will be processed under AECC member cooperatives’ policies, it is expected that the majority of the interconnection requests received by AECC will be for generation interconnections. Requests to interconnect transmission facilities or end-user facilities not under member cooperative policies will be processed using the generator interconnection processes as a guide where applicable. It should be noted that the interconnection process only addresses the physical interconnection of facilities and their impacts. It does not cover the processes required to obtain transmission service for the delivery, transport or receipt of energy or any other purpose.
Depending on the interconnection request, the facilities may be subject to the FERC approved mandatory NERC Reliability Standards. Facilities that may qualify include generators or generation plants greater than 20 MW and facilities that fall under the NERC definition of the Bulk Electric System. There are 2 companion documents which are essential to understanding the standards: the NERC Glossary of Terms Used in the Reliability Standards and the NERC Reliability Functional Model. Access these documents by visiting the NERC website.