On July 9, 2024, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) vacated orders issued by the FERC that required six wholesale power sellers (the “Sellers”) to issue refunds to customers for power sales made above FERC’s “soft” price cap during the 2020 heatwave in California.  The court held that FERC “should have conducted [a] Mobile-Sierra analysis prior to ordering refunds,” and therefore remanded the orders so that FERC could “change its refund analysis for above-cap sales going forward.”

Continue Reading Court Vacates FERC “Soft” Cap Refund Order Issued After 2020 California Heat Wave

On July 9, 2024, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) declined to stay a new Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) rule that seeks to limit methane emissions in the oil and gas industries (“Methane Rule”), thereby allowing the Methane Rule to remain in effect while litigation proceeds.

Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Declines to Stay EPA’s New Methane Rule

On June 27, 2024, FERC accepted Midcontinent Independent System Operator Inc.’s (“MISO”) proposed tariff revisions that sought to implement a downward-sloping Reliability Based Demand Curve (“RBDC”) in the MISO Planning Resource Auction (“Auction”) beginning with the 2025/2026 Planning Year.  FERC determined that MISO’s proposal is not only consistent with its acceptance of similar sloped curves in other Regional Transmission Owners/Independent System Operators capacity markets but that MISO’s proposal to adopt a downward-sloping RBDC will reduce volatility in Auction Clearing Prices, increase the stability of the capacity revenue stream over time, and render capacity investments less risky, thereby encouraging greater investment and at a lower financing cost.

Continue Reading FERC Approves MISO’s Use of Downward Sloping Demand Curve in 2025-2026 Planning Resource Auctions

David Rosner and Lindsay See have been sworn in as FERC’s newest Commissioners on June 13 and 28, 2024, respectively. The FERC Open Meeting on June 27 marked Commissioner Rosner’s first Open Meeting and Commissioner Allison Clements’ last Open Meeting before her term expired on June 30, 2024. The U.S. Senate previously confirmed now-current Commissioners Rosner and See on June 13, 2024, along with Judy Chang. It is likely that Judy Chang will be sworn in as Commissioner in the coming days. Judy Chang’s swearing in will bring the agency to its full complement of five commissioners.  

Continue Reading David Rosner and Lindsay See Sworn in as FERC Commissioners; Allison Clements’ Term Expires

On June 14, 2024, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) denied Food & Water Watch’s environmental challenges to the FERC’s order granting a certificate of public convenience and necessity (“CPCN”) to Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company (“Tennessee Gas”) for its East 300 Upgrade Project (“Project”).

Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Denies Food & Water Watch’s Challenges to FERC’s GHG Review in NGA Certificate Proceeding

On June 28, 2024, the United States Supreme Court (“Supreme Court”) overruled its prior decision in Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council (“Chevron”) in a 6-3 vote in Loper Bright Enterprises et al. v. Raimondo, Secretary of Commerce, et al. (“Loper Bright”). The Chevron doctrine has required federal courts to defer to administrative agencies’ interpretations of statutes the agency administers when the underlying statute is ambiguous. Under the Loper Bright ruling, federal courts will not defer to administrative agencies in interpreting ambiguous statutes and instead must exercise their judgment in determining whether the agency acted within its statutory authority. The decision will likely have a substantial impact on both regulated industries and federal agencies such as FERC.

Continue Reading SCOTUS Overrules Chevron Deference in 6-3 Ruling

On June 27, 2024, FERC issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (“ANOPR”) regarding potential reforms to require transmission providers to use dynamic line ratings (“DLRs”) to encourage more accurate and transparent line ratings. The Commission seeks comment on a proposed DLR framework and whether other transmission line rating reforms are needed to ensure just and reasonable and not unduly discriminatory or preferential FERC-jurisdictional rates. Initial and reply comments are due 90 and 120 days after the ANOPR’s publication in the Federal Register, respectively. After the comment period in this proceeding ends, FERC may consider issuing a formal Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which would be a prerequisite to issuing any final rule.

Continue Reading FERC Issues ANOPR on Dynamic Line Ratings

We are pleased to announce the release of our latest whitepaper, Fueling Up: How to Make U.S. Clean Hydrogen Projects Happen. This comprehensive report explores the critical steps needed to unlock the potential of clean hydrogen in the U.S., and the related challenges faced by developers and utilities.

Continue Reading Fueling Up: How to Make U.S. Clean Hydrogen Projects Happen

At its May 23, 2024 open meeting, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) proposing to establish a one-year “reasonable period of time” for certifying authorities to act on requests for water quality certification under section 401 of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”).  The proposed rule also clarifies that all FERC authorizations “that have the potential to discharge into waters of the United States,” including exemptions from licensing, require either a section 401 water quality certification or waiver thereof.

Continue Reading FERC Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Conform to EPA’s Recent CWA § 401 Rule

On May 23, 2024, FERC issued an Order denying Lackawanna Energy Center LLC’s (“Lackawanna”) complaint against PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) alleging that PJM failed to reimburse Lackawanna for lost opportunity costs (“LOC”) incurred following allegedly improper curtailment orders from PJM during a 2023 transmission line outage.  Lackawanna argued that PJM’s curtailment of its generation output violated the Federal Power Act and the PJM Tariff, which typically allow for LOC payments when generator output is reduced due to transmission constraints or reliability issues.  FERC dismissed all claims raised in the complaint.

Continue Reading FERC Dismisses Lackawanna Complaint Against PJM Seeking “Stability Limit”-Related Lost Opportunity Costs