On December 20, 2023, FERC approved the California Independent System Operator Corporation’s (“CAISO”) proposal to establish the Extended Day Ahead Market (“EDAM”), which allows external Balancing Authority Areas (“BAAs”) to participate in CAISO’s day-ahead market. FERC also approved CAISO’s Day Ahead Market Enhancements (“DAME”) proposal, which establishes two new day-ahead market products: Imbalance Reserves and Reliability Capacity. FERC approved the CAISO’s proposals but rejected the proposed EDAM access charge without prejudice. CAISO must submit a compliance filing addressing FERC’s conditions within sixty (60) days of the Order.Continue Reading FERC Conditionally Approves CAISO Market Expansion

On November 17, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) denied petitions challenging FERC’s approval of recent changes to the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.’s (“PJM”) Open Access Transmission Tariff. The changes permit Transmission Owners in PJM to plan for “asset management projects” and certain End of Life (“EOL”) projects without satisfying PJM regional planning criteria. The D.C. Circuit also dismissed certain petitions for lack of standing.Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Upholds PJM Tariff Changes to Planning of Asset Management and End of Life Projects

On November 16, 2023, FERC staff issued the 2023-2024 Winter Energy Market and Electric Reliability Assessment report, projecting trends and identifying considerations for energy markets and electric reliability for the upcoming winter (December through February). The report focuses on weather outlook, the state of the natural gas and electricity markets, and initiatives implemented in the wake of Winter Storm Elliott.Continue Reading FERC Staff Issues Winter Reliability Assessment Report

On October 20, 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) released the National Transmission Needs Study, a triennial report that assesses electric transmission capacity constraints and congestion on a national scale. While similar to previously issued triennial reports, the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law expanded the study’s scope to also consider anticipated future transmission constraints and congestion. The study assessed needs through 2040 and revealed a pressing need for additional transmission infrastructure to promote reliability in the face of a shifting resource mix, with the largest benefits stemming from increases to interregional transfer capacity.Continue Reading Department of Energy Releases Triennial National Transmission Needs Study

On October 19, 2023, FERC issued a final rule directing the North American Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) to develop or modify reliability standards to address reliability concerns attributable to inverter-based resources (“IBRs”)—i.e., solar photovoltaic, wind, fuel cell, and battery storage resources. FERC explained that the current reliability standards were designed for a grid mostly comprised of synchronous resources, where all generators are operating at the same frequency across the grid. In recent years, there has been a substantial increase in renewable generation, such as wind and solar, which is largely nonsynchronous, meaning generators that do not operate at the same frequency as the synchronized grid. Nonsynchronous resources are often programmed to trip offline during system disturbances, resulting in the potential loss of significant amounts of generation at one time. FERC issued this order in response to the “unprecedented proportion of nonsynchronous resources” expected to connect to the grid in the coming years and the “material impact” of IBRs on the Bulk Power System, including at least 12 documented events where IBRs responded “unexpectedly and adversely” to normally cleared line faults and the largest IBR-related disturbance NERC has ever recorded. The rule directs NERC to submit the updated standards by November 4, 2026.Continue Reading FERC Directs NERC to Develop Reliability Standards for Inverter Based Resources

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 7, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) issued an opinion rejecting petitioner Hecate Energy Green County 3 LLC’s (“Hecate”) claim that the New York Independent System Operator (“NYISO”) tariff did not contain sufficient detail to put it on notice that NYISO would assess network upgrade costs resulting from non-jurisdictional projects.  Instead, the Court agreed with FERC that because its tariff gave “fair notice,” NYISO “had not impermissibly adopted a practice that was not in its tariff.”Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Backs FERC in New York Cost Allocation Dispute, Giving FERC Broad Deference under the Rule of Reason

In its May 26, 2023 opinion in Sierra Club v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (an article on the rest of the opinion regarding FERC’s environmental review of the Mountain Valley Pipeline can be found here), the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit addressed challenges to its jurisdiction to hear appeals of Commission rehearing orders when they are denied by operation of law and the Commission subsequently modifies the underlying order after said denial.Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Addresses Appeals of Rehearings Denied by Operation of Law

On May 26, 2023, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an opinion in Sierra Club v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission largely denying challenges to several FERC orders authorizing the resumption of construction of Mountain Valley Pipeline (“MVP”) but remanded, without vacatur, all but one of the orders on review insofar as FERC failed to adequately explain its decision not to prepare a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) for MVP. (See related article on the Court’s finding with regard to hearing appeals of FERC’s rehearing orders, here).Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Finds FERC Failed to Justify Not Preparing a Supplemental EIS for Mountain Valley Pipeline

On May 3, 2023, a divided FERC voted 3-1 to deny a widely-supported complaint by multiple utilities in the Southwest Power Pool (“SPP”) region arguing that the absence of the new 15% generation Planning Reserve Margin (“Reserve Margin”) from the SPP tariff rendered that tariff unjust and unreasonable.  The Reserve Margin dictates exactly how much electric generating capacity load-serving utilities must own or have under contract to serve customers.  The complaining utilities argued that customers in SPP could be harmed by the costs associated with the rapid increase in the Reserve Margin with little corresponding reliability benefit and asked FERC to keep closer tabs on the process.  The utilities’ request for additional FERC oversight was opposed only by SPP itself.  As a result of the decision, SPP is free to change the Reserve Margin without any oversight by FERC or approval by a single state commission.   FERC further held that a complaint alleging that a key rate is missing from a tariff in violation of section 205 of the Federal Power Act and the Commission’s Rule of Reason fails to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Continue Reading Divided FERC Announces Hands-Off Approach to Capacity Issues in SPP, Raises Questions About Tariff Detail Complaints