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On October 19, 2023, FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (“NOPR”) proposing various changes to its Electric Quarterly Report (“EQR”) filing requirements. According to FERC, the proposed changes are designed to update the data collection process, improve data quality, increase market transparency, decrease costs of preparing necessary data for submission, and streamline compliance with future filing requirements. The following is a summary of the primary reforms proposed.Continue Reading FERC Proposes Changes to Filing Requirements and Data Collection for Electric Quarterly Report

On September 5, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (“Ninth Circuit”), in Solar Energy Industries Association v. FERC, held that the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act (“PURPA”) gives FERC broad discretion to evaluate which implementation rules are needed to encourage the development of qualifying small-scale renewable generating facilities. While the Ninth Circuit did not vacate FERC’s decision, it remanded the decision back to FERC for failing to conduct the proper National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) review. The decision stems from the Solar Energy Industries Association and several environmental organizations’ (collectively, “Petitioners”) challenge to Order Nos. 872 and 872‑A (collectively, “Order 872”), which were rules adopted by FERC that altered which small-scale renewable facilities qualify for benefits under PURPA and how those facilities are compensated (see July 20, 2020 edition of the WER).Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Finds that PURPA Gives FERC Broad Implementation Discretion, But Remands New Qualifying Facility Rules for Lack of NEPA Review

On May 26, 2023, the Commission accepted Southwest Power Pool, Inc.’s (“SPP”) proposed revisions to its Tariff to establish the “framework under which an electric storage resource may be considered a transmission asset.” Continue Reading FERC Approves SPP Proposal for Energy Storage to Be Considered Transmission-Only Assets

On May 4, 2023, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hosted all four FERC Commissioners for an oversight hearing to focus on reliability in the face of (1) cyber-attacks, (2) coal and natural gas plant retirements, (3) severe weather, and (4) subsidies, climate policies, and market signals that encourage more intermittent resources to come online.Continue Reading FERC Commissioners Answer to Senate Committee on Fleet Transformation and Other Pressing Issues

On March 3, 2023, the House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Energy, Climate Change, and Grid Security Subcommittee Chair Jeff Duncan (R-SC) sent a letter to Acting FERC Chairman Willie Phillips and Commissioners asking the Commission to respond to a series of questions related to FERC’s authority as it relates to two policy statements issued in February 2022 and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) issued in December 2022. The two policy statements concern Greenhouse Gas (“GHG”) emissions of natural gas infrastructure projects (see February 18, 2022 Troutman Pepper Insights; February 23, 2022 edition of the WER). The NOPR would require applicants proposing to build electric transmission infrastructure to prepare Environmental Justice Public Engagement Plans.Continue Reading House Republicans Press FERC on Environmental Review Issues

On April 21, 2023, the President Biden issued an “Executive Order on Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All.” The new Executive Order provides that “each [federal] agency should make achieving environmental justice part of its mission.” To that end, it provides that agencies shall:Continue Reading Biden Issues Executive Order Increasing Agency Requirements on Environmental Justice

On April 19, 2023, FERC announced it would hold a forum to discuss the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) capacity market. The Commissioner-led forum is scheduled for Thursday, June 15, 2023. There will be three panels to discuss the current state of the PJM capacity market, potential improvements, and related proposals to address resource adequacy.Continue Reading FERC to Convene Forum on PJM Capacity Market

On March 16, 2023, FERC granted a petition declaring that, should it issue orders pursuant to Sections 210 and 211 of the Federal Power Act (“FPA”), which would be required for a prospective project to interconnect Puerto Rico’s transmission system to the U.S. mainland bulk electric system, such orders would “not render Puerto Rico’s electric utilities ‘public utilities’ under section 201(e) of the FPA. However, FERC reserved the right to make a fact-specific determination at the time any application for such interconnection is sought and further affirmed that, regardless of “public utility” status, FERC would retain jurisdiction over Puerto Rico’s electric utilities pursuant to sections 210, 211, 211A, 212, and 215 of the FPA.Continue Reading FERC Confirms that Orders Under Sections 210 and 211 of the Federal Power Act Would Not Generally Confer “Public Utility” Jurisdiction over Puerto Rico’s Electric Utilities

On March 1, 2023, FERC partially approved ISO New England’s (“ISO-NE”) proposed tariff revisions in compliance with Order No. 2222, which removed barriers to the participation of distributed energy resource (“DER”) aggregations in the capacity, energy, and ancillary services markets operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators (“RTO/ISO”). In the order, FERC directed ISO-NE to revise its proposal regarding small utility opt-in requirements, capacity market participation, information and data requirements, and metering and telemetry system requirements. Commissioner Christie dissented from the order arguing that ISO-NE’s proposed metering and telemetry requirements for DER aggregations are reasonable and should be encouraging RTO/ISOs to adopt rigorous measurement and verification (“M&V”) measures, not undercutting them. Commissioner Danly concurred with a separate statement, expressing how this decision underscores his original concerns with Order No. 2222, namely that FERC is interfering in managing RTO activities that, in his view, should be under state jurisdiction. Commissioner Clements also concurred with a separate statement urging ISO-NE to make its proposal open to all DERs, such as behind-the-meter DERs.Continue Reading FERC Partially Accepts ISO-NE Order No. 2222 Compliance Filing, but Expresses Concern that Proposal Could Create Undue Barrier to DERs

On February 10, 2023, FERC approved the Western Resource Adequacy Program (“WRAP”) proposed by the Western Power Pool (“WPP”). The voluntary program commits participants to demonstrate prior to a given Winter or Summer season that they have sufficient capacity to meet a required planning reserve margin and have reserved 75% of the transmission to deliver that capacity to load. The WRAP also allows those who are short on capacity to call on the excess capacity of other participants during critical periods. The Southwest Power Pool, Inc. will run the operations of the program, which became effective January 1, 2023, under the oversight of WPP.Continue Reading FERC Approves Regional Resource Adequacy Program in the Western Interconnection