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    Connection Process Changes

    This page is intended to provide Market Participants familiar with the Connection Process with a high-level overview of noteworthy changes resulting from the Amended 2018 ISO Tariff Compliance Filing, together with additional process efficiencies proposed by the AESO. The following is not intended to be a comprehensive explanation of all changes; rather it is intended to facilitate awareness and understanding of key Connection Process changes that may be of importance to your project.

    Throughout this page, the tariff which became effective on January 1, 2021 will be referred to as the “Proposed Tariff”, and can be found here. The tariff that was previously in effect can be found here.

    An overview of the Connection Process can be found in the Quick Reference Guides section on the Connecting to the grid page.

    Questions or clarifications beyond what is captured on this page can be directed to your project manager or to customer.connections@aeso.ca

    • Acronym Reference
         

      AUC

      Alberta Utilities Commission

      CCD

      Construction Contribution Decision

      DFO

      Distribution Facility Owner

      DTS

      Demand Transmission Service

      GFO

      Generation Facility Owner

      GUOC

      Generating Unit Owner’s Contribution

      ISD

      In-Service Date

      MC

      Maximum Capability

      MP

      Market Participant

      NID

      Needs Identification Document

      P&L

      Permit & License

      SAS

      System Access Service

      SASR

      System Access Service Request

      STS

      Supply Transmission Service

      TFO

      Transmission Facility Owner

    • SASR Critical Information
      • What’s changing?

        Specific information provided in the SASR, including location, capacity, and ISD, is now identified as “critical information” in the Proposed Tariff. The AESO relies on the accuracy of this information to plan the connection for a project. MPs are required to submit a project change proposal to amend the SASR for any changes to the critical information. The AESO will evaluate the impact of the changes to determine the response. In some cases, the AESO may cancel the project if the changes are significant.
      • What’s the impact?

        Although critical information is now clearly described in the Proposed Tariff, the process for providing and changing this information remains the same. While the impact on projects is therefore minimal, MPs will have better visibility and understanding of the critical information process.
      • Why the change?

        Clarifying which information is critical and the consequences of changing it will incent MPs to provide accurate information at the beginning of the process. This will minimize changes later in the project, and better support the AESO in its planning decisions.
      • When is it changing?

        Critical information will be provided in SASRs that are submitted on or after the effective date of the Proposed Tariff. For projects that are in-flight as of the effective date of the Proposed Tariff, the critical information will be taken from the SASR on file or, if applicable, from an approved change proposal for the project.
      • Where can I find more information?

        Critical information is described in subsection 3.2 and 3.9 of the Proposed Tariff. A new SASR template and guide, and corresponding change proposal form, will be posted on the AESO website by the effective date of the Proposed Tariff. These materials will provide a detailed explanation of the critical information being requested by the AESO.
    • SAS Agreement Timing
      • What’s changing?

        MPs will now be required to execute the SAS agreement in Stage 3 of the process, prior to the AESO filing its NID for the project at the beginning of Stage 4. The SAS agreement will become effective immediately upon the AUC issuing P&L.
      • What’s the impact?

        Once the SAS agreement becomes effective, both the AESO and MP are bound by the terms and conditions of the agreement. The MP risks forfeiting a portion of its GUOC refund or having to make a payment in lieu of notice (PILON) if any amendments to the SAS agreement are required after the effective date. As a result, it is important for MPs to gather and finalize their critical information, including the requested ISD and capacity, prior to NID filing to avoid any adverse financial implications. The AESO is required to provide the service described in an effective SAS agreement to the MP (see the Project Inclusion Criteria section).
      • Why the change?

        Earlier execution of the SAS agreement provides the AESO with increased certainty that the project will proceed to the ISD and contract capacity described in the NID. This additional certainty supports better planning decisions and minimizes changes to the AESO’s system transmission plans and to the connection plans of other projects.
      • When is it changing?

        Projects that have not passed Gate 3 as of the effective date of the Proposed Tariff will be required to execute their SAS agreement prior to completing the stage. Projects that have already passed Gate 3 will be grandfathered and execute the SAS agreement 30 days prior to the contract capacity start date.

        Note: Eligible projects may elect to comply with the provisions of the Proposed Tariff. Please refer to the Transitional Election Process for more details.
      • Where can I find more information?

        SAS agreement execution is discussed in subsection 3.6 of the Proposed Tariff, and SAS agreement effective dates are discussed in subsection 3.7. Details on the provision of system access service can be found in the Rate DTS and Rate STS proformas and Section 2 of the Proposed Tariff.
    • Generating Unit Owner’s Contribution
      • What’s changing?

        There are a number of changes related to GUOC in the Proposed Tariff. These changes include:
        • GUOC will now be calculated based on the MC of a generator, and will apply to all generators with an MC of greater than 1 MW
        • The regional rates used for the GUOC calculation have been updated
        • A GUOC Assessment will be provided for the GFO to acknowledge in Stage 2
        • GUOC will be invoiced directly to the GFO after P&L is issued, and must be paid within 30 days of the SAS agreement becoming effective
        • GFOs will be required to provide evidence in Stage 3 that they have the ability to pay the GUOC, prior to the AESO filing the NID for the project
      • What’s the impact?

        GFOs will need to secure financing earlier in the process to satisfy the GUOC evidence requirements for Stage 3 and the earlier GUOC payment in Stage 4. Projects should be aware that the GUOC amount assessed under the Proposed Tariff may differ from previous assessments as a result of the shift to MC based calculations and the updated regional rates.
      • Why the change?

        Basing the GUOC amount on the MC rather than the STS contract capacity more accurately reflects the actual impact of the generator on the system, and the updated regional rates provide a price signal that reflects the current generation capability in each region. Requiring evidence of the ability to pay GUOC will increase project certainty prior to filing the NID, and ensure that the GFO is able to meet their financial obligations when the GUOC payment becomes due.
      • When is it changing?

        Projects that have not passed Gate 3 as of the effective date of the Proposed Tariff will be required to provide evidence of ability to pay GUOC prior to completing Stage 3, and will follow the GUOC provisions in the Proposed Tariff. Projects that have already passed Gate 3 will be grandfathered and continue to pay their GUOC the later of 90 days after P&L is issued or 30 days before construction, and payments will continue to be based on the STS contract capacity and invoiced to the MP.

        Note: Eligible projects may elect to comply with the provisions of the Proposed Tariff. Please refer to the Transitional Election Process for more details.
      • Where can I find more information?

        GUOC is discussed in Section 7 of the Proposed Tariff, and timing of payment is discussed in subsection 3.6(10). Details on the provision of GUOC evidence and the type of evidence that is accepted can be found in subsection 3.6(9) of the Proposed Tariff, and in Section 103.3 of the ISO rules, Financial Security Requirements.
    • Project Inclusion Criteria
      • What’s changing?

        A project will now be accounted for in the studies performed by other projects once the SAS agreement for the project is effective, which occurs upon the issuance of P&L. If the project is not executing a SAS agreement, it will be included when P&L is issued.
      • What’s the impact?

        Study inclusion will occur earlier (for generation projects) or at the same time (for load projects) as the existing process. Provided there are no changes to a project’s critical information, MPs can have confidence in their connection alternative once their SAS agreement is effective.
      • Why the change?

        When a SAS agreement becomes effective, the AESO must provide system access service up to the contract capacity for the capacity start date. The project must therefore be accounted for in other project studies to ensure the AESO will be able to meet its obligations under the terms of the SAS agreement.
      • When is it changing?

        Projects that have not passed Gate 3 as of the effective date of the Proposed Tariff will be included in the studies performed by other projects using the new criteria. Projects that have already passed Gate 3 will be grandfathered and included per the existing practice of GUOC payment for generation, and P&L issuance for load.

        Note: Eligible projects may elect to comply with the provisions of the Proposed Tariff. Please refer to the Transitional Election Process  for more details.
      • Where can I find more information?

        The project inclusion criteria will be detailed in an update to ID 2018-018T Provision of System Access Service and the AESO Connection Process, which will be posted prior to the effective date of the Proposed Tariff.

       

    • Selection of ISO Preferred Alternative
      • What’s changing?

        The Proposed Tariff describes the factors that must be considered by the AESO when determining the preferred connection alternative for a project. Options available to MPs when studies show that their connection would require a system transmission facility upgrade are also detailed.
      • What’s the impact?

        The Proposed Tariff documents the existing preferred alternative selection process, with minor adjustments. As there are no significant changes to the process, the impact to projects is minimal.
      • Why the change?

        Documenting the AESO practices around the selection of the preferred alternative will provide additional clarity and visibility, ensuring continued fairness, enhancing transparency, and allowing MPs to more effectively plan their project.
      • When is it changing?

        The AESO’s current process for determining the selection of the preferred alternative will continue as described in the Proposed Tariff. Projects that have not passed Gate 3 as of the effective date of the Proposed Tariff will be provided the options detailed in the Proposed Tariff, if system transmission facility upgrades are required for their connection. Projects that have passed Gate 3 will continue as planned.
      • Where can I find more information?

        Details on the preferred alternative, including the types of alternatives, the factors considered in selecting the alternative, and the options available when the connection requires a system transmission facility upgrade, can be found in subsection 3.4 of the Proposed Tariff.
    • Proposal to Proceed
      • What’s changing?

        The AESO will now provide a Proposal to Proceed letter to the MP near the end of Stage 2, which will detail the AESO’s preferred alternative and the rationale for selecting it. The MP will be required to acknowledge the letter before moving to Stage 3. Although the AESO will continue to use the existing Stage 2 deliverables to determine the preferred alternative, the MP will no longer be required to compile these deliverables into a Connection Proposal.
      • What’s the impact?

        MPs will only be required to provide the AESO with the inputs necessary to make the decision on a preferred alternative for a project, streamlining the process.
      • Why the change?

        The AESO is responsible for selecting the preferred alternative, and it is appropriate that the AESO presents their decision to the MP in an AESO document. This eliminates the practice of including the AESO’s conclusions in the engineering study report stamped by the MP’s Study Consultant.
      • When is it changing?

        Projects that have not provided a Connection Proposal as of the effective date of the Proposed Tariff will be provided with a Proposal to Proceed letter, and will no longer have to provide the Connection Proposal. Projects that have already provided a Connection Proposal will not be affected.
      • Where can I find more information?

        Details on Stage 2 deliverables and the Proposal to Proceed can be found in the Connection Process Quick Reference Guide.