In June 2021, Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced The Maintaining and Enhancing Hydroelectric and River Restoration Act of 2021, which would establish a tax credit for certain investments in dam safety and environmental improvements at qualified dams and separate tax credit to incentivize the removal of obsolete river obstructions, including nonpowered dams. Continue Reading Senators Murkowski and Cantwell Introduce Bipartisan Hydropower Legislation

On July 14, 2021, the City and County of Denver, Colorado, acting through its Board of Water Commissioners (“Denver Water”), filed a Complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, requesting declaratory and injunctive relief against Boulder County over the County’s alleged efforts to delay and obstruct Denver Water’s expansion of the Gross Reservoir Hydroelectric Project. Continue Reading Denver Water Files Complaint in Federal Court, Seeking Preemption of Boulder County Regulation Due to FERC Hydroelectric Project License

On July 15, 2021, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“Commission” or “FERC”) issued a Final Rule amending its regulations pertaining to: (1) the information required to be filed with a notice of intent to construct a qualifying conduit facility and (2) the licensing requirements applicable to major projects up to 10 megawatts (MW).  The Final Rule was issued to align the Commission’s regulations with changes to the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) that were made as part of the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act (“HREA”) of 2013. Continue Reading FERC Revises Filing Requirements for Certain Small Hydroelectric Facilities

On July 15, 2021, FERC issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“ANOPR”) to solicit comments on potential reforms for electric regional transmission planning, cost allocation, and generator interconnection processes. Through public comment, the Commission seeks input on how transmission and interconnection planning and cost allocation procedures can be reformed to facilitate additional renewable energy integration and adjust for increasing demands on the grid. Comments on the ANOPR and replies to Comments are due 75 days and 105 days, respectively, after the ANOPR’s publication in the Federal Register. Following these filings, the Commission may consider whether to issue a formal Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which would precede any final rule on these issues. Continue Reading FERC Issues Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Potential Reforms for Electric Transmission Planning, Cost Allocation, and Generator Interconnection Processes

On July 9, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) denied in part and granted in part a petition for review of FERC’s orders accepting revisions to PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.’s (“PJM”) Forward Capacity Market (“FCM”). The Petition was filed by the Delaware Division of the Public Advocate, Maryland Office of the People’s Counsel, and the Office of the People’s Counsel for the District of Columbia (“Petitioners”). The Court upheld FERC’s use of a Combustion Turbine (“CT”) plant as the Reference Resource in approving the net Cost of New Entry (“net CONE”) calculation, and found that FERC’s approval of a 10 percent adder on Reference Resource’s assumed energy market offer was arbitrary and capricious. The Court remanded the case for proceedings consistent with its decision on the 10 percent adder. Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Upholds Use of Combustion Turbine as Reference Resource in PJM Capacity Market, Finds 10% Net CONE Adder Arbitrary and Capricious

On June 24, 2021, FERC formally issued a public report that outlined its plan to establish the Office of Public Participation (OPP).  The report stated that the OPP’s mission is to assist the public in learning about and participating in FERC proceedings, and that FERC aims to have the OPP at full operating capacity by fiscal year (FY) 2024. Continue Reading FERC Formally Outlines Office of Public Participation for FERC Proceedings

On June 29, 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that a certificate of public convenience and necessity issued by FERC under section 7 of the Natural Gas Act (“NGA”) authorizes a private company to exercise eminent domain to condemn state-owned property.  In particular, the opinion holds that states cannot claim sovereign immunity from condemnation lawsuits filed by certificated pipelines against the state in order to take public land to construct, own, and operate an interstate gas pipeline project.     Continue Reading Supreme Court Rules that PennEast, Gas Pipelines May Condemn State-Owned Land

On June 23, 2021, FERC accepted in part and rejected in part the New York Independent System Operator’s (“NYISO”) February 2021 proposal to revise its process for procuring operating reserves throughout the New York Control Area (“NYCA”). FERC accepted NYISO’s proposed revisions to its Operating Reserves Demand Curve (“ORDC”), including revisions to certain shortage pricing values, subject to a compliance filing providing at least two weeks’ notice of the actual effective date of the revisions. NYISO subsequently submitted that compliance filing on June 29, 2021 noting an effective date of July 13, 2021. The June 23 order also rejected NYISO’s proposal to establish a process for procuring reserves in excess of quantities required by minimum reliability standards, without prejudice to NYISO submitting a more specific proposal in the future. Continue Reading FERC Accepts NYISO Operating Reserve Pricing Proposal, Rejects Proposal for Procuring Supplemental Reserves

On June 17, 2021, FERC set aside its previous decision in Order No. 2222-A that allowed state regulatory authorities to prohibit demand response resources from participating in distributed energy resource (“DER”) aggregations in wholesale energy markets when the DER aggregation contains only demand response resources. As a result, upon the effective date of Order No. 2222-B, state regulatory authorities will be able to prohibit demand response resources from participating in all wholesale DER aggregations. However, FERC also stated that it will further consider the issue in the Notice of Inquiry (“NOI”) proceeding established in Order No. 2222-A to consider whether to revise its regulations to remove the demand response opt-out established in Order Nos. 719 and 719-A. FERC also extended the comment period in the NOI proceeding to ensure an adequate opportunity for interested parties to comment on these issues. Finally, Order No. 2222-B clarified the appropriate restrictions to avoid double counting of services and the compensation of demand response resources that participate in DER aggregations. Commissioners Neil Chatterjee and James Danly wrote separate concurring opinions; Commissioner Mark Christie concurred in part and dissented in part. Continue Reading FERC Issues Order No. 2222-B, Setting Demand Response Opt-Out for Further Consideration