Alternative Transmission, a provider of transmission services without using wires, Requests FERC Find that it is a transmission provider subject to its regulations
On April 17, 2019 in Docket No. EL19-69, Alternative Transmission Inc. (ATI) requested that FERC issue an order confirming that (1) the alternative transmission facilities and services described in its petition provide “transmission of electric energy in interstate commerce” subject to FERC’s jurisdiction under Parts II and III of the Federal Power Act (FPA) and (2) ATI as the owner or operator of the described facilities will be a “public utility” under Parts II and III of the FPA. ATI plans to transmit electricity across state lines without the use of wires. It proposes to do so by constructing electric energy transfer stations—charging and discharging—at locations in the continental United States. At the charging stations, electric energy generated by unaffiliated entities will be transferred to a mobile medium--e.g., a shippable container of an electrically chargeable, dischargeable, and rechargeable medium. The charged mobile medium then will be transported across state lines by rail (and possibly tractor-trailer, boat or airplane, or any combination of these) to discharging stations at different locations. At the discharging station, the medium in the containers will be available for instantaneous dispatch as instructed, until the charge is depleted and the medium becomes available for recharge. ATI will deliver electric energy into areas accessible by surface transportation (and possibly water or air) where (1) current or forecast demand for delivered electric energy cannot adequately be met by existing wire transmission corridors, or (2) the ATI’s approach is the most timely or most economical solution for meeting existing or forecast demand. Further applications are conceivable, such as diverting natural gas directly to combustion turbines or combined-cycle generating units constructed at or proximate to the production of those natural gas reserves and generating electricity to charge the media in container cars for transport to markets using neither pipelines nor wires. Additionally, ATI’s proposal could address widespread power outages from emergencies or disasters or from cyber-attacks or improper maintenance. Discharging stations can be modular and transported where needed.
There is more information in the ATI filing, including an affidavit further explaining the ATI approach, which can be found at https://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?document_id=14767433.
Dr. Paul Dumais
CEO of Dumais Consulting with expertise in FERC regulatory matters, including transmission formula rates.