On December 30, 2021, FERC accepted the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.’s (“MISO”) revisions to its Generator Interconnection Procedures (“GIP”), which MISO proposed to, among other things: (1) classify fuel type change requests made during the three-phase Definitive Planning Phase (“DPP”) of MISO’s generator interconnection study process as a material modification, and (2) allow interconnection customers to request surplus interconnection service earlier in the interconnection study process. As FERC found, MISO’s proposed changes represented a “reasonable compromise” to allow interconnection customers to request an earlier review of fuel change request through the surplus process, while minimizing disruptions to the formal DPP process posed by fuel type changes.
Continue Reading FERC Accepts MISO’s Revisions to its Generator Interconnection Procedures Regarding Fuel Type Changes

On December 16, 2021, the Commission issued its final rule on transmission line ratings that reforms both the pro forma Open Access Transmission Tariff (“OATT”) and the Commission’s corresponding regulations in an effort to improve the accuracy and transparency of transmission line ratings. The Commission stated that this rule will more efficiently utilize the transmission grid and help lower costs for consumers.
Continue Reading FERC Issues Final Rule on Transmission Line Ratings

On December 1, 2021, Jordan Cove Energy Project and Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline (the “Jordan Cove Developers” or “Developers”) notified the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (the “Commission”) of their decision not to proceed with the Jordan Cove LNG project (“Jordan Cove Project” or “Project”) and requested that the Commission vacate the authorizations issued for the Project. The Jordan Cove Developers decided not to move forward because of concerns regarding their ability to obtain required state permits.
Continue Reading Applicants for Jordan Cove LNG Project Request FERC to Vacate Authorizations

On November 16, 2021, staff from FERC, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”), and certain Regional Reliability Entities issued a final report on the 2021 winter storms that severely impacted the bulk electric systems in Texas and the South Central United States. The report recommended, among other things, strengthening regulations and the grid for cold weather preparedness and enhancing coordination between natural gas and electric systems to prevent winter blackouts.
Continue Reading FERC and NERC Issued Final Report on the 2021 Winter Freeze

On November 5th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the more than $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the bipartisan infrastructure framework (BIF).  The Senate had already approved the bill back in August, and it now heads to the President’s desk for signature.  The BIF represents a core piece of President Biden’s agenda and provides significant funding for infrastructure improvements in energy and water, including over $900M in waterpower incentives for new and existing hydropower, pumped storage, and marine energy.  Additional spending is provided for dam safety and removal.
Continue Reading Infrastructure Bill Provides Opportunities for Hydroelectric Industry

On October 21, 2021, during the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s monthly open meeting, each Commissioner released an explanatory statement regarding their views of the Southeast Energy Market Exchange (“SEEM”) proposal. Ultimately, the proposal took effect by operation of law on October 12 after the Commission was divided two-two on the lawfulness of the proposal. Under such circumstances, the Federal Power Act requires each Commissioner to issue a written statement explaining their views with respect to the changes. The Commissioners were split on multiple issues, including whether the proposal provided enough protection for competition and whether the Mobile-Sierra presumption should apply to SEEM transactions.
Continue Reading FERC Commissioners Each Explain Southeast Energy Market Exchange Impasse

On September 23, 2021, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), for the first time, issued two orders reserving the right to require future license measures to ensure that licensees have adequate financial reserves “to carry out the terms of the license and Commission orders pertaining thereto.”  FERC’s orders follow its January 2021 Notice of Inquiry, in which it solicited public comments on whether and how it should impose financial assurance requirements on hydropower licensees to ensure licensees have sufficient financial resources to maintain their projects in safe condition.
Continue Reading FERC Includes Financial Assurance Requirement in Recent Licensing Orders

As Seattle City Light proceeds through the FERC relicensing of its Skagit River Hydroelectric Project, it faces two recent lawsuits filed by the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe and one by Skagit County.  Two of the suits are related to the Project’s alleged impacts on fish passage, and another alleges that Seattle City Light is misleading the public, or “greenwashing” with respect to its clean energy claims.
Continue Reading Seattle City Light Faces Lawsuits During Skagit Relicensing

On September 23, 2021, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) Staff released their report and recommendations regarding the 2021 Winter Freeze during the September Open Meeting at FERC. In this joint review, Staff reviewed what happened during the freeze, what caused the failure, and outlined various recommendations to prevent similar events in the future.
Continue Reading FERC and NERC Release Report and Recommendations Regarding 2021 Winter Freeze