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 28, 2022, FERC conditionally accepted Southwest Power Pool, Inc.’s (“SPP”) region-wide transmission cost allocation proposal. The revisions alter Attachment J of SPP’s Open Access Transmission Tariff (“Tariff”) and establish a waiver process through which, on a case-by-case basis, entities may request the costs of a specific transmission facility with a voltage level between 100 kV and 300 kV (“Byway Facility”) to be fully allocated to the SPP region on a postage-stamp basis—i.e., pursuant to a uniform regional rate. Commissioners James Danly and Mark Christie each dissented, respectively arguing that the revisions provide SPP too much discretion to allocate Byway Facilities on a regionwide basis and that the record did not show strong consensus among SPP states for the change in cost allocation.

Continue Reading FERC Accepts SPP Region-Wide Transmission Cost Allocation Proposal

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 30, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit issued an opinion in Save the Colorado, et al. v. Spellmon. The case arose from various conservation group challenges to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) decision to grant the city and county of Denver, acting through its Board of Water Commissioners (Denver Water or municipality), a discharge permit to expand the reservoir of its Gross Reservoir Hydroelectric Project, which is licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission). The central issue revolved around whether the U.S. courts of appeals have exclusive jurisdiction over challenges to non-FERC decisions arising under statutes related to the development of hydropower projects under the Federal Power Act (FPA). The Tenth Circuit ultimately held that petitions against orders by non-FERC agencies do not warrant exclusive jurisdiction in the U.S. courts of appeals.

Continue Reading Tenth Circuit Resolves Jurisdictional Dispute, Finds FPA Jurisdictional Limit Does Not Apply to Non-FERC Agency Orders

On September 9, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it would distribute $13.5 million to incentivize hydroelectric generation in the United States. The financial support is part of the Hydroelectric Production Incentive Program, which provides funding for electricity generated and sold from dams and other water infrastructure projects that will add to or expand hydropower generation.

Continue Reading DOE Announces $13.5M Distribution to Hydroelectric Facilities Through the Hydroelectric Production Incentive Program

On September 21, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, released the text of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2022 (Act). This comprehensive Act was set to be included in the upcoming Continuing Resolution; however, on September 27, Manchin pulled the Act from the Continuing Resolution given bipartisan opposition. The Act sought to improve energy production in the United States by accelerating agency review of certain energy projects and modernizing permitting laws.

Continue Reading Senator Manchin’s Permitting Reform Bill Pulled From the Continuing Resolution

On July 15, 2021, FERC issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“ANOPR”) to solicit comments on potential reforms for electric regional transmission planning, cost allocation, and generator interconnection processes. Through public comment, the Commission seeks input on how transmission and interconnection planning and cost allocation procedures can be reformed to facilitate additional renewable energy integration and adjust for increasing demands on the grid. Comments on the ANOPR and replies to Comments are due 75 days and 105 days, respectively, after the ANOPR’s publication in the Federal Register. Following these filings, the Commission may consider whether to issue a formal Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which would precede any final rule on these issues.
Continue Reading FERC Issues Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Potential Reforms for Electric Transmission Planning, Cost Allocation, and Generator Interconnection Processes

On June 24, 2021, FERC formally issued a public report that outlined its plan to establish the Office of Public Participation (OPP).  The report stated that the OPP’s mission is to assist the public in learning about and participating in FERC proceedings, and that FERC aims to have the OPP at full operating capacity by fiscal year (FY) 2024.
Continue Reading FERC Formally Outlines Office of Public Participation for FERC Proceedings

On June 17, 2021, FERC issued an order providing guidance on the means by which sellers in the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (“WECC”) market can demonstrate that sales made above the $1,000/MWh soft price cap were just and reasonable.  This guidance has been provided for sellers with pending justification filings, which have been granted 30 days to amend or supplement their filings accordingly, as well as any sellers making prospective justification filings.
Continue Reading FERC Provides Guidance on Justification Filings for Sales Above the WECC Soft Price Cap