The PUCO has just granted a Motion to Suspend an Application filed by FirstEnergy that would have allowed the company to begin using biomass material such as wood pellets at its Burger facility. If granted, the application would have allowed the company to receive renewable energy credits for the energy produced at the plant. That renewable energy credit would have been used to meet the company’s renewable benchmark requirements under Ohio Revised Code Section 4928.64 (S.B. 221). The PUCO summarized its decision in an entry released today:
On January 12, 2010, OEC filed a motion to suspend consideration of Burger’s application. OEC argues that the nature and scale of this project necessitate higher scrutiny and intensive review, which cannot be accomplished under the limited time provided by the 60-day automatic approval process. On January 19, 2010, FirstEnergy Generation Corporation (FirstEnergy), which owns the Burger facility, filed a memorandum in opposition to OEC’s motion to suspend. FirstEnergy argues that Burger’s application should be subject to the same level of scrutiny as any other matter pending before
the Commission, as there is no statutory or regulatory basis for OEC’s claim that larger projects require additional review…
The Commission finds that additional information is required to satisfy the requirements for certification. Therefore, good cause has been shown to suspend the 60-day automatic approval process for Burger’s application for certification, in order for the Commission to further review this matter.
Unfortunately, as the Commission explained, FirstEnergy’s application contained too few details about the source of the biomass material or procurement standards.
“We didn’t think it was clear that FirstEnergy should be allowed to receive renewable energy credit for this facility, so we intervened in the case and ultimately filed a Motion to Suspend the application,” said Will Reisinger, staff attorney for the OELC. “Now we will have more time to take a close look at this project,” said Reisinger.
This is the first time the PUCO has suspended such an application. “The Commission’s order shows just how much more FirstEnergy has to do to show that its plans comply with Ohio law,” added Reisinger.
The Commission’s order allows the parties to the case to file additional comments until March 29, 2010.