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On July 28, 2022, FERC proposed a new “duty of candor” rule that would broadly apply to “all entities communicating with the Commission or other specified organizations related to a matter subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission.” According to the Commission, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) is intended to capture the types of communications that may not have been included in the Commission’s existing communication rules and policies, some of which have an existing duty of candor standard.

Continue Reading FERC Proposes a New, Broader Duty of Candor Rule

On June 24th and 27th, 2022 FERC approved two stipulations and consent agreements between FERC’s Office of Enforcement (“Enforcement”) and two separate project developers. First, sPower Development Company, LLC (“sPower Devco”) agreed to a civil penalty of $24,000 after Enforcement determined that sPower Devco violated PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.’s (“PJM’s”) Tariff by submitting inaccurate information in PJM’s interconnection process. Second, Salem Harbor Power Development LP (“Harbor Power Devco”) agreed to a civil penalty of $17 million, to disgorge $26.7 million in profits, and to submit to compliance monitoring after Enforcement found that it collected capacity revenues on a project that had not yet been built nor was in commercial operation.

Continue Reading Generation Project Developers Agree to Pay Civil Penalties, Disgorge Profits, after FERC Enforcement Investigations

On June 16, FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) focused on updating procedures for interconnecting large generating facilities (20MW and above) and small generating facilities (under 20MW). The NOPR proposes significant updates to FERC’s pro forma interconnection procedures, which were first established in the early 2000s. In the intervening years, however, the nation’s generation fleet has evolved, new technologies have emerged, and interconnection wait-times have steadily increased. The NOPR proposes various reforms to help address growing interconnection queue backlogs and process delays. Comments are due 100 days after the NOPR’s publication in the Federal Register. Reply comments are due 130 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Below is a summary of the primary reforms outlined in the NOPR, which fall into three broad categories: (1) implement a first-ready, first-served cluster study process; (2) increase the speed of interconnection queue processing; and (3) incorporate technological advancements into the interconnection process. FERC’s proposed reforms are discussed further in the full summary, linked below.
Continue Reading Summary of FERC Interconnection NOPR

On May 19, 2022, FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) to establish a rule that would require natural gas pipelines to submit all supporting statements, schedules, and workpapers in native format, with all links and formulas intact, when filing a Natural Gas Act (“NGA”) section 4 rate case. FERC issued the NOPR in response to a petition from several national gas trade associations, which argued that FERC’s current policy of permitting certain supporting documents to be filed in non-native format does not ensure that FERC staff and stakeholders have access to all information required to perform routine rate analyses. Comments on the NOPR are due June 17, 2022.
Continue Reading FERC Proposes Changes to Filing and Reporting Requirements for NGA Section 4 Rate Cases

On April 22, 2022, the Commission on remand from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”), reversed its approval of the California Independent System Operator Corporation’s (“CAISO”) proposed Capacity Market Adder (“20% adder”). The Commission ordered CAISO to submit a compliance filing that removes the 20% adder from its Open Access Transmission Tariff (“OATT”) and replace it with an alternative methodology that excludes the 20% adder.
Continue Reading FERC Reverses Approval of CAISO Capacity Market Adder

On April 21, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) released its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) to reform its policies regarding Regional Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation. The NOPR follows from an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANOPR) on these reforms, which FERC issued in July 2021. Representing FERC’s most significant action on transmission planning and cost allocation in more than a decade, the NOPR outlines six major proposals:
Continue Reading Summary of FERC’s April 2022 NOPR on Transmission Planning, Cost Allocation, and Generator Interconnection

On March 25, 2022, FERC found that Nopetro LNG, LLC’s (“Nopetro”) proposed natural gas liquefaction and truck loading facility and proposed transloading operations in Port St. Joe, Florida, are not subject to FERC’s jurisdiction under sections 3 or 7 of the Natural Gas Act (“NGA”).
Continue Reading FERC Declines to Exercise Jurisdiction Over Nopetro’s LNG Truck Loading Facility

On March 24, 2022, FERC changed course and designated the two policy statements it issued last month regarding the certification of interstate natural gas pipelines (“Updated Policy Statement”) and consideration of greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions in natural gas project reviews (“Interim GHG Policy Statement”) as draft policy statements. The two draft policy statements will not apply to pending project applications or applications filed before FERC finalizes the policy statements. FERC also requested initial comments on the draft policy statements by April 25, 2022.
Continue Reading FERC Changes Policy Statements on Pipeline Certification and GHG Emissions to Draft Policy Statements, Seeks Comment on Draft Policy Statements

On February 18, 2022, FERC issued two new, significant policies governing how FERC will review proposals for new natural gas pipeline projects (see February 18, 2022, Troutman Pepper Insight). Headlining these policies is FERC’s new interim greenhouse gas (“GHG”) policy statement (“Interim GHG Policy Statement”), pursuant to which FERC will presume any gas project with 100,000 metric tons per year of carbon dioxide equivalents (“CO2e”) emissions to have a significant impact on climate change, and thus any such project will trigger the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”). Notwithstanding the interim nature of FERC’s new Interim GHG Policy Statement – where FERC is accepting comments by April 4, 2022 – FERC clarified that it will apply both policies to all pending and new project applications, effective immediately. Both commissioners James Danly and Mark Christie issued lengthy dissents to both policy statements.
Continue Reading FERC Overhauls Existing Pipeline Project Analysis, Creates Separate Interim GHG Policy for Gas Infrastructure Projects.

On January 25, 2022, FERC announced that FERC staff will hold a technical conference on Tuesday, April 26, 2022, regarding whether the Commission should require additional financial assurance mechanisms in the licenses and other authorizations that FERC issues for hydroelectric projects, to ensure that licensees have the capability to carry out license requirements and, particularly, to maintain their projects in safe condition.
Continue Reading FERC to Host Technical Conference on Financial Assurance Measures for Hydroelectric Projects