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

On May 23, 2024, FERC approved the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (“NERC”) proposed Critical Infrastructure Protection (“CIP”) Reliability Standard, CIP-012-2 (Cyber Security – Communications between Control Centers), which is intended to improve upon and expand existing reliability standards to mitigate risks posed by loss of availability of communication links and certain data transmitted between bulk electric system (“BES”) Control Centers. FERC also approved NERC’s associated implementation plan, violation risk factors and violation severity levels, and the retirement of Reliability Standard CIP-012-1.

Continue Reading FERC Approves NERC’s CIP Reliability Standard on Cyber Security

On April 25, 2024, FERC approved the California Independent System Operator Corporation’s (“CAISO”) request to increase its capacity procurement mechanism (“CPM”) soft cap offer from $6.31/kW-month to $7.32, which will become effective in June 2024.

Continue Reading FERC Accepts CAISO’s Request to Raise Soft Cap Offer

On May 13, 2024, the Commission announced two major transmission reform final rules: Building for the Future Through Electric Regional Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation (“Order No. 1920”) and Applications for Permits to Site Interstate Electric Transmission Facilities (“Order No. 1977”). Order No. 1920, which adopts specific requirements for how transmission providers must conduct long-term planning and allocate costs for regional transmission facilities, was the subject of significant debate at today’s meeting and only mustered two votes in support from the three sitting commissioners. The Commission unanimously approved Order No. 1977, which updates the process FERC will use in the limited circumstances in which it must exercise its authority over siting electric transmission lines, as directed by Congress in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (“IIJA”).

Continue Reading Divided FERC Announces Much-Anticipated Transmission Rules

On April 18, 2024, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) introduced the Making Pipelines Accountable to Consumers and Taxpayers Act (“MPACT Act”) (S. 4171) that, if adopted, would grant FERC authority to order refunds under section 5 of the Natural Gas Act (“NGA”). Specifically, the MPACT Act amends section 5 of the NGA to give FERC authority to order a pipeline to issue retroactive refunds for charges FERC determines are unjust and unreasonable. The MPACT is intended to align FERC’s authority over the gas and electric industries and protect customers from unjust and unreasonable rates. At this time, a companion bill has not been introduced in the House of Representatives.

Continue Reading Senate Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Give FERC Retroactive Refund Authority Under Section 5 of the Natural Gas Act

On March 12, 2024, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld a prospective rule change to PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.’s (“PJM”) annual capacity auction but struck down attempts by PJM and FERC to apply the rule change to the ongoing auction held in December 2022.  Although the rule change permits PJM to adjust the Locational Deliverability Area (“LDA”) Reliability Requirement downward to reflect the lack of participation in the December 2022 auction by certain resources to correct for distortions to the auction results, the Third Circuit held that FERC could not permit the change to go into effect in the middle of an ongoing auction.

Continue Reading Third Circuit Upholds PJM Capacity Market Change but Prevents Retroactive Application

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (“D.C. Circuit”) recently upheld two FERC orders granting natural gas pipeline developers’ requests to extend their construction deadlines. The D.C. Circuit denied the Sierra Club’s petitions for review of the extension orders because the court determined that FERC’s decisions were reasonable and adequately supported by the record. The D.C. Circuit further provided that FERC has broad discretion in determining whether a developer has demonstrated good cause for an extension and whether circumstances have changed enough to warrant revisiting FERC’s original findings.

Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Upholds FERC Orders Granting Natural Gas Pipeline Companies’ Requests to Extend Project Deadlines

On March 28, 2024, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”) submitted a filing to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) proposing revisions to its Open Access Transmission, Energy and Operating Reserve Markets Tariff (“Tariff”) to implement a direct loss of load (“DLOL”) based accreditation methodology.  The DLOL methodology will be used to accredit resources for MISO’s annual Planning Resource Auction and to determine a load serving entity’s resource adequacy for each season during the applicable year.  According to MISO, the proposal will better account for how different resources bolster grid reliability during stress periods.  MISO requests that the tariff revisions take effect on September 1, 2024.

Continue Reading MISO Seeks to Reform Resource Accreditation Requirements

We are pleased to publish our latest white paper, entitled “Driving Change: Scaling Up EVs in the U.S.” The report highlights the challenges of expanding electric vehicles (EVs) and EV battery manufacturing in the U.S. Outdated infrastructure and divergent state and federal environmental regulatory structures are identified as key hurdles.

Continue Reading Driving Change: Scaling Up EVs in the U.S.