On August 10, 2023 in response to incentives made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) proposed reforms to its regulations governing the coordination of Federal authorizations for the development of interstate, onshore electric transmission facilities and to establish the Coordinated Interagency Transmission Authorizations and Permits Program (“CITAP Program”). The main goal of the CITAP Program, which will be administered by DOE’s Grid Deployment Office, is to “reduce the time required for transmission project developers to receive decisions on Federal authorizations for transmission projects.” Public comments are due by 11:59pm ET on October 2, 2023.Continue Reading Department of Energy Proposes New Program to Streamline Federal Authorizations to Site Interstate Transmission Projects
On July 27, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit’s decision to grant the Wilderness Society’s motions to stay of construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline (“MVP”) pending that court’s review of the Forest Service’s amended Forest Management Plan. The Supreme Court’s order grants MVP’s emergency application to vacate the Fourth Circuit’s stay orders and permits MVP to resume construction on the pipeline.Continue Reading Mountain Valley Pipeline To Resume Construction After Supreme Court Vacates Fourth Circuit’s Order Halting Construction
On June 2, 2023, FERC accepted in part and rejected in part Public Service Company of Colorado’s (“PSCo”) proposed revisions to its Large Generator Interconnection Procedures (“LGIP”) and Large Generator Interconnection Agreement (“LGIA”). In largely accepting PSCo’s proposed revisions, FERC found that the reforms would either strengthen the ability of PSCo to process generator interconnection requests or provide general improvements to existing processes.Continue Reading FERC Accepts in Part and Rejects in Part PSCo’s Proposed LGIP & LGIA Revisions
On January 23, 2023, FERC set New York Power Authority’s (“NYPA”) proposed revisions to its Formula Rate Template for hearing, including changing NYPA’s allocation methodology for administrative and general (“A&G”) costs to a multi-factor, modified Massachusetts method (“Massachusetts Method”). In doing so, FERC found that NYPA had not supported its claim that the Massachusetts Method is appropriate for its specific circumstances and organizational structure or how the change would affect rates. FERC also conditionally accepted proposed changes to NYPA’s Formula Rate Protocols implementing transmission rate incentives and cost containment mechanisms for the Smart Path Connect Project.Continue Reading FERC Sets NYPA Formula Rate Changes for Hearing, Including Proposed Template Utilizing “Massachusetts Method” for A&G Cost Allocation.
On November 17, 2022, FERC granted a petition for declaratory order (“Petition”) filed by Ameresco, Inc. (“Ameresco”) and its subsidiaries (collectively with Ameresco, “the Ameresco Companies”) requesting exemption from certain “books and records” requirements under the Commission’s Public Utility Holding Company Act of 2005 (“PUHCA”) regulations because its ownership of certain grid-charged battery storage subsidiaries might otherwise have caused Ameresco to lose its automatic “books and records” exemption under PUHCA. FERC granted the Petition, notwithstanding the fact that some of the storage subsidiaries would not otherwise qualify for the non-traditional utility “books and records” exemption, because the “Ameresco Companies’ books, accounts, memoranda, and other records are not relevant to the jurisdictional rates of Ameresco Companies.”Continue Reading FERC Finds PUHCA Exemptions Appropriate for Holding Company Ownership of Grid-Charging Storage Facilities Selling at Retail
On October 20, 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (the “Commission”) issued an order addressing Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company, GridLiance High Plans LLC, and the Indicated SPP Transmission Owners’ (consisting of Evergy Kansas Central, Inc., Evergy Metro, Inc., Evergy Missouri West, Inc., and ITC Great Plains, LLC) (together, the “Petitioners”) requests for rehearing and alternatively request for clarification of the Commission’s June 2022 Order accepting revisions to Southwest Power Pool, Inc.’s (“SPP”) Open Access Transmission Tariff (“Tariff”) (“Rehearing Order”). The Commission denied the Petitioners’ request for rehearing and sustained its June 2022 Order establishing SPP’s uniform Zonal Planning Criteria.Continue Reading FERC Sustains Prior Order Approving Revisions to SPP’s Tariff Establishing Uniform Zonal Planning Criteria
On September 22, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or “Commission”) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to establish rules providing incentive-based rate treatment for utilities making certain voluntary cybersecurity investments (“Cybersecurity NOPR” or “NOPR”). According to FERC, the Cybersecurity NOPR seeks to benefit consumers and national security by encouraging investments in advanced cybersecurity technology and participation by utilities in cybersecurity threat information sharing programs, as directed by Congress in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (“Infrastructure and Jobs Act” or “Act”). While the Cybersecurity NOPR supersedes FERC’s December 2020 cybersecurity NOPR (whose docket is being terminated), the instant Cybersecurity NOPR generally retains the incentive provisions outlined in the December 2020 NOPR. Under the Cybersecurity NOPR, FERC proposes that:Continue Reading FERC Proposes to Offer Rate Incentives for Voluntary Cybersecurity Investment
On July 15, 2022, a FERC Administrative Law Judge (“Presiding Judge”) issued an initial decision in a proceeding involving the “threshold” issue of whether four solar generating facilities (collectively, “Facilities”) interconnected at the distribution level are eligible to receive reactive power compensation under Schedule 2 of the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) Open Access Transmission Tariff (“Tariff”). The Presiding Judge concluded that the Facilities are ineligible to receive reactive power rates because the facilities in question did not satisfy the so-called capability requirement, as explained further below.
Continue Reading FERC Judge Rules that Four Solar Generators Interconnected at the Distribution Level Are Ineligible to Receive Reactive Power Compensation Under PJM’s Tariff
On May 31, 2022, FERC accepted and set for hearing Southwest Power Pool, Inc.’s (“SPP”) proposal to revise its Open Access Transmission Tariff (“OATT”) to establish a formula rate template (“Formula Rate”) on behalf of People’s Electric Cooperative (“People’s Electric”) when People’s Electric transfers functional control of its transmission facilities to SPP on June 1, 2022. The Commission granted People’s Electric’s request to include a 50-basis point adder for participating as a member of SPP, a regional transmission organization (“RTO”). Commissioner Christie wrote separately in concurrence to express his continued support for limiting the RTO participation adder to three years.
Continue Reading FERC Approves ROE Adder for SPP Membership, Prompting Statement from Commissioner Christie
On April 29, 2022, the FERC rejected Midcontinent Independent System Operator Inc.’s (“MISO”) proposed tariff revisions that sought to “extend” MISO Transmission Owners’ option to self-fund transmission upgrades so as to apply to Necessary Upgrades to support the connection of Merchant High Voltage Direct Current (“MHVDC”) transmission into MISO. FERC found that MISO failed to show its proposal was just and reasonable because MISO argued that Network Upgrades and Necessary Upgrades were functionally identical yet only proposed to extend the self-funding option traditionally applied to Network Upgrades without also extending other funding options and protections for customers.
Continue Reading FERC Rejects MISO Proposal for Transmission Owners to Self-fund Necessary Upgrades to Connect Merchant HVDC Lines