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

On September 23, 2021, FERC issued an order rejecting a unilateral offer of settlement regarding the compensation for reactive power by Panda Hummel Station LLC (“Panda”) under Schedule 2 of the PJM Interconnection LLC (“PJM”) OATT, remanding the proceeding to the Chief Administrative Law Judge (“Chief ALJ”) to resume hearing procedures.  FERC found Panda’s proposed methodology flawed and inconsistent with FERC policy. 
Continue Reading FERC Rejects Reactive Compensation Settlement, Finding Methodology Flawed

On August 31, 2021, FERC denied Cross-Sound Cable Company, LLC’s (“Cross-Sound Cable”) application for incentive rate treatment to create a regulatory asset to recover costs incurred between 2016 and 2021 to comply with Interconnection Reliability Operating Limits (“IROL”) Critical Infrastructure Protection (“IROL-CIP”) costs under Schedule 17 of the ISO-New England (“ISO-NE”) Tariff.
Continue Reading FERC Denies Cross-Sound Cable Company’s Application for Incentive Rate Treatment to Comply with IROL-CIP Costs

On July 15, 2021, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“Commission” or “FERC”) issued a Final Rule amending its regulations pertaining to: (1) the information required to be filed with a notice of intent to construct a qualifying conduit facility and (2) the licensing requirements applicable to major projects up to 10 megawatts (MW).  The Final Rule was issued to align the Commission’s regulations with changes to the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) that were made as part of the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act (“HREA”) of 2013.
Continue Reading FERC Revises Filing Requirements for Certain Small Hydroelectric Facilities