On July 8, 2022, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) issued its decision in City of Oberlin, Ohio v. FERC, a proceeding involving the issue of whether FERC properly granted NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC (“Nexus”) a certificate of public convenience and necessity to construct and operate a natural gas pipeline that will facilitate exports into Canadian markets (“Project”).  The Court upheld the certificate.
Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Allows Natural Gas Pipeline Certificate to Stand, Accepting Export Precedent Agreements as Probative of Need

On June 30, 2022, in a 6-3 decision, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. writing for the majority, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in West Virginia v. EPA limiting the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants. The Court’s decision could have significant implications for other executive branch agencies attempting to issue regulations that implicate “major questions.”
Continue Reading Supreme Court Decision in West Virginia v. EPA

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 27, 2022, members of the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) Members Committed voted in favor of a suite of tariff reforms that PJM states will revamp and improve its generator interconnection process. In a press release issued that same day, PJM stated that the changes will create a faster, more efficient interconnection process, allowing PJM to better handle the influx of interconnection requests PJM has seen in recent years and will continue seeing into the future. In a press release dated April 28, 2022, PJM reported that it plans to file the proposal with FERC in May 2022.
Continue Reading PJM Will File Interconnection Queue Reform Proposal at FERC in May 2022

On April 21, 2022, FERC directed each regional transmission organization/independent system operator (“RTO/ISO”) to submit information related to their wholesale markets, including how changing resource mixes and load profiles are affecting system needs. FERC stated it will review the reports and any public comments filed to determine whether further action is appropriate.
Continue Reading Declining to Propose a Generic Solution, FERC Directs RTOs/ISOs to File Reports on System Needs

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 28, 2022 and March 29, 2022, FERC issued two orders approving stipulation and consent agreements between FERC’s Office of Enforcement and Dynegy Marketing and Trade, LLC (“Dynegy”) and Constellation NewEnergy Inc. (“Constellation”), respectively. Among other things, Dynegy agreed to pay a $450,000 civil penalty for alleged violations of PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) capacity tariff requirements, and Constellation agreed to pay a $2.4 million civil penalty for alleged violations of California Independent System Operator Corp. (“CAISO”) resource adequacy tariff requirements.
Continue Reading FERC Approves Civil Penalties for Alleged Violations of CAISO and PJM Market Rules

On February 17, 2022, FERC set aside its September 2020 order rejecting the New York Independent System Operator Corporations (“NYISO’s”) tariff revisions to the “Part A Test,” a component of NYISO’s buyer-side mitigation (“BSM”) rules. The now-approved changes on rehearing permit NYISO to prioritize entry of renewable resources, battery storage, and other zero emission resources (“Public Policy Resources”) in New York’s Installed Capacity (“ICAP”) Market, rather than prioritizing new resources purely on a least-cost basis. FERC also ordered NYISO to submit a compliance filing within 30 days proposing a new effective date for its tariff revisions. Commissioner James Danly issued a separate dissenting statement, arguing that the reversal was a “cynical attempt” to preference renewable resources. Commissioner Mark Christie issued a separate concurring statement, agreeing with the majority that the result was just and reasonable in NYISO after concluding that the costs of the change would be confined to New York.
Continue Reading FERC Reverses Prior Order, Allows NYISO to Prioritize Entry of Zero Emission Resources in New York’s Capacity Market