PURPA Qualifying Facility Certification (7-FD-c)
A cogeneration facility is a generating facility that sequentially produces electricity and another form of useful thermal energy (such as heat or steam) in a way this is more efficient than the separate production of both forms of energy.
A small power production facility is a generating facility that is 80 megawatts or less with a primary energy source (i.e. at least 75%) of hydro, wind, solar, biomass, waste, or geothermal resources. Qualifying Facilities have the right to sell energy to public utilities at the "avoided cost" rate (i.e. the cost to the public utility to produce the energy itself), provided FERC has not relieved the utility from its purchase obligation under 18 CFR 292.309.
It may be advantageous for developers to seek Qualifying Facility (QF) status under the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA). Qualifying Facilities may enjoy certain benefits under federal law including:
- The right to sell energy or capacity to a utility;
The right to purchase certain services from utilities; and
- Relief from certain regulatory burdens.
The following categories of QFs are exempt from State laws and regulations respecting the rates and financial and organizational aspects of utilities:
- Small power production facilities 30 MW or smaller; and
- Geothermal power production facilities of any size.
PURPA Qualifying Facility Certification Process
7-FD-c.1 – Certification of Qualifying Facility Status for a Small Power Production or Cogeneration Facility (Form 556) & fee
The owner or operator of the facility seeking Qualifying Facility status must properly complete and file Form No. 556 pursuant to 18 CFR 131.80 to FERC. For applications to the Commission (FERC) for certification, the properly completed application must be accompanied by the fee prescribed in 18 CFR 381.
7-FD-c.2 – Give Notice to the Appropriate Authorities
An owner or operator filing a self-certification, self-recertification, application for Commission (FERC) certification, or application for Commission (FERC) recertification of the qualifying status of a facility must serve a copy of the filing on each electric utility which it expects to interconnect, transmit, or sell electric energy to, or purchase, supplementary, standby, back-up, or maintenance power from, as well as the state regulatory authority for each state where the facility and each affected electric utility is located. Additionally, FERC will publish notice in the Federal Register for each application for Commission (FERC) certification and for each self-certification of a cogeneration facility subject to the requirements of 18 CFR 292.205(d).
7-FD-c.3 – Assign Docket Number
FERC will assign a docket number to each application for Certification of Qualifying Facility status for a small power production or cogeneration facility (Form 556), regardless if the owner or operator is seeking self-certification or Commission (FERC) certification.
7-FD-c.4 to 7-FD-c.5 - Does the Facility Seek Commission Certification in lieu of Self-Certification
If the owner or operator of the facility chooses not to file an application for Certification of Qualifying Facility status with FERC, but rather chooses to file a self-certification the Qualifying Facility is complete. If the owner or operator of the facility chooses to apply for Commission (FERC) certification, FERC will process the application and make a determination on the Qualifying Facility status.
7-FD-c.6 to 7-FD-c.7 – Review Application Materials for Completeness
FERC reviews the application for completeness and within 90 days of the later of the filing of an application or the filing of a supplement, amendment, or other change to the application and determines whether the application is complete.
7-FD-c.8 – Is the Order Tolled Under 18-CFR 292.207(b)(3)
Within 90 days of the filing of a complete application or the filing of a supplement, amendment, or other change to the application, FERC has the option to toll the time for issuing an order.
7-FD-c.9 – Order Granting/Denying Certification
Within 90 days of the filing of a complete application or of the filing of a supplement, amendment, or other change to the application, FERC will issue an order granting or denying the order. Any order denying certification must list the specific requirements the facility does not meet. If FERC fails to act within 90 days of the date of the latest filing, the order is automatically granted.