Provide your organization's comments on the primary reliability need topic, as described in section 2.1:
The CAISO identified an issue that it proposes should be addressed when identifying the primary reliability need of a RMR Unit – existing RMR Units’ classification. In issue #5 identified under section 2.1, the CAISO proposes that all current RMR contracts will have to be converted to a system-wide RMR Contract until the system need is resolved.
Vistra requests the CAISO narrow the scope of this issue to only apply to non-legacy RMR Units. The CAISO should not apply the proposed rule to allow existing Legacy RMR Contracts to be converted to a system RMR Contract. Appendix H of the CAISO Tariff governs the treatment of Legacy RMR contracts, where Legacy RMR contracts are those entered by RMR units prior to September 1, 2018.
These Tariff provisions apply to the Oakland Power Plant which achieved commercial operations in 1978 and was first designated as an RMR Unit in 1998. The Oakland Power Plant is a 110 MW liquid fossil-fired power plant located in Oakland, California owned and operated by Vistra. The capacity of Units 1 and 3 of the Oakland Power Plant is fully committed as a Reliability Must-Run (RMR) Unit under a Legacy RMR Contract with the CAISO. The Oakland Power Plant has been in operations for almost 44 years and maintained online under the Legacy RMR Contract for more than two decades.
Vistra plans to retire the remaining fossil units at Oakland Power Plant before 2024 and install battery energy storage units and is working with CAISO and PG&E to that end. There are several events that must occur before that can be accomplished, such as that these units must be released from RMR designation, which should be released once the local reliability need is addressed. PG&E appears to be on track to complete the transmission related components of the Oakland Clean Energy Initiative with current projected in service date for the transmission related elements by March 2023 that will address the local reliability need in combination with Vistra’s repowering of the currently retired Oakland Power Plant Unit 2. Given the clear path to resolving the local need requiring these Legacy RMR Units in the near future, the Legacy RMR designation should not be converted to a system RMR contract.
There is a likelihood that the CAISO system need may persist through 2026. If this Legacy RMR Unit is converted to a system RMR and is required by CAISO to maintain its online status through 2026, it would bring it to almost five decades of operations and three decades as a Legacy RMR Unit. In our view, it is not in the best interest of the CAISO to convert the Legacy RMR designation to system RMR and maintain its online status through the balance of the system reliability need as this facility reaches the end of its useful life. Instead, Vistra proposes that the CAISO exempt Legacy RMR Units from the proposed rules in this initiative and apply any changes only to non-legacy RMR Units.
 California ISO 2017-2018 Transmission Planning Process Unified Planning Assumptions and Study Plan, March 31, 2017 at page A-29.
 Request for Clarification or, in the Alternative, Request for Rehearing of Pacific Gas and Electric Company for the July 15, 2021 order under EL20-63 page 3 includes PG&E description of the transmission enhancement status stating “The Moraga Claremont 115 kV Lines #1 and #2 have been re-rated and relevant substations will be upgraded, which will further bolster future reliability in the area”. Link available at https://elibrary.ferc.gov/eLibrary/filedownload?fileid=72EFDE2B-C8A3-C816-A620-7B50F6900000.
 Stakeholder Transmission Asset Review (STAR) documents released by PG&E on June 1, 2021 for Project Names OCEI - Oakland X 115kV Bus Upgrade and OCEI - Moraga 115kV Bus Upgrade. Link available at https://pgera.azurewebsites.net/Regulation/ValidateDocAccess?docID=656693.
Additional comments on the Clarifications to RMR Designation Process issue paper:
Vistra requests the CAISO provide additional details in its next iteration on how the CAISO proposes to identify whether a reliability criteria violation that impacts the entire CAISO BAA is likely to occur if a given unit were to retire/mothball.
Our understanding of the CAISO current rules based on the record in ER19-1641 is that the CAISO may perform technical study to identify whether a unit retirement would result in the CAISO having insufficient capacity to meet the requirements of NERC Reliability Standards such as BAL-001-2, BAL-002-3, BAL-002-WECC-2a, BAL-003-1.1, or TPL-001-4 etc. If a risk of violation of one of these standards is identified in a technical study that the CAISO may retain a retiring unit as RMR. Further, we understand that the CAISO must conduct a reliability study to establish that the specific resource that requested retiring or mothballing or release from an existing RMR designation is needed to meet applicable Reliability Criteria before it can be eligible to receive an RMR designation.
While there was a discussion about the primary system reliability need in the Issue Paper and during the call, it was not clear whether the system need being discussed by the CAISO was bridging the Resource Adequacy deficiency facing the system or identifying a system need that can only be met by the resource seeking retirement, mothballing, or release from RMR. While we are not opposed to the CAISO trying to better clarify when it is designating resources for system Reliability Criteria versus to meet local capacity area requirements in this effort, we are cautious that with the new use of the system RMR that it is more important to document the procedures to identify resources that should be under system RMR consistent with existing authority.
It is important to ensure there is clarity that the designations would not be to cure the system Resource Adequacy shortfall but instead to ensure the CAISO BAA can meet applicable Reliability Criteria that a study has identified cannot be met without retaining the resource that is requesting retirement, mothballing, or release from RMR. Consequently, we request the CAISO provide in the next iteration a proposal for performing system technical studies and designating system resources in more detail. Please provide additional details on:
- The system RMR studies analyzing whether an applicable system Reliability Criteria would be violated if the resource requesting retirement, mothballing, or release from RMR was allowed to go off-line.
- A list of the applicable Reliability Criteria that affect the BAA.
- How the technical studies ensure that the resource being studied is the only resource that can meet the identified system need to meet applicable Reliability Criteria at the BAA-level.
We would expect the CAISO proposed details to add to existing Tariff and manuals as needed will mirror the procedures and details provided by the CAISO and approved by FERC in the ER19-1641 docket. In ER19-1641 docket, CAISO revised its Tariff through tariff revisions to enhance its Reliability Must Run (RMR) framework and further differentiate its RMR program from its backstop procurement authority under the Capacity Procurement Mechanism (CPM) provisions of its tariff. In this proceeding, the CAISO laid out guidelines for what authority the CAISO must designate RMR Units based on Reliability Criteria but not to cure Resource Adequacy insufficiencies. In its transmittal letter, the CAISO stated:
“[T]he CAISO will not use RMR to backstop RA procurement deficiencies. If there is an RA showing deficiency, the CAISO will only backstop it with CPM. A resource that might be able to fill the RA deficiency cannot request, and will not receive, an RMR designation to fill the RA deficiency. Rather, the CAISO will fill the RA deficiency with another resource from the CPM competitive solicitation process. If no other resource is available, the CAISO still will not offer an RMR contract to the generating unit because it remains available for CAISO dispatch. Under the CAISO’s proposal, the CAISO will use RMR for resources that have submitted a retirement/mothball notice and attestation and that the CAISO has found are needed to meet Reliability Criteria. In other words, a generating unit desiring an RMR designation must submit a formal notice of retirement/mothball and attestation (discussed in the next section) to even be eligible to receive an RMR designation. This requirement does not exist today. Also, the CAISO must conduct a reliability study to establish that the resource is needed to meet applicable Reliability Criteria before it can be eligible to receive an RMR designation. An RA showing deficiency does not, by itself, mean that a resource is needed to meet Reliability Criteria; it only means that LSEs have not procured sufficient capacity to meet their RA obligations. The CAISO’s reliability study must show that a reliability need exists and that only the resource to be designated can meet it, i.e., the resources procured in the RA process or that otherwise have not retired, do not meet all of the CAISO’s reliability needs and the CAISO needs the retiring/mothballing resource to meet applicable Reliability Criteria. Thus, resources will not arbitrarily be able to choose between accepting an annual CPM designation or receiving an RMR Contract.”
Further, the CAISO also provided helpful details on its process to differentiate a RMR need that is not to cure Resource Adequacy shortfalls and what type of needs would trigger a RMR beyond a local RMR. The details provided in the CAISO response to deficiency letter provided helpful additional details on what types of studies could identify a need for a RMR beyond the local capacity area need that could be leveraged to provide additional details in this initiative. Under the CAISO Tariff Appendix A, “Reliability Criteria” is defined as “[p]re-established criteria that are to be followed to maintain desired performance of the CAISO Controlled Grid under Contingency or steady state conditions” -- specifically, pre-established North American Electric Reliability Council, Western Electricity Coordinating Council, or CAISO-established reliability standards. While not a definition provided in the Issue Paper, we think the definition of Reliability Criteria in Appendix A is equally applicable in the current initiative, as it is the type of need that would allow the CAISO to designate resources a system RMR under its current authority.
We respectfully request the additional details are necessary to mitigate uncertainty on whether the new system RMR and any conversion of local RMR to system RMR under this proposal are done only if it meets the requirements approved by FERC summarized above.
 Tariff Section 41.3 “41.3 Reliability Studies and Determination of RMR Status” to add in the Tariff that the CAISO, “Although the CAISO may base an RMR designation on the Local Capacity Technical Study, the CAISO does not use its RMR authority to address Resource Adequacy deficiencies”.
 California ISO RMR CPM Enhancements Amendment, Transmittal Letter under ER19-1641, April 23, 2019, Page 39, https://elibrary.ferc.gov/eLibrary/filedownload?fileid=01FF88C4-66E2-5005-8110-C31FAFC91712.
 California ISO Response to Deficiency Letter under ER19-1641, July 26, 2019, https://elibrary.ferc.gov/eLibrary/filedownload?fileid=0202628C-66E2-5005-8110-C31FAFC91712.