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

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 February 11, 2021, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced plans to create a senior position at the Commission to coordinate incorporation of environmental justice (EJ) concerns into the Commission’s decision-making process.  FERC Chairman Richard Glick indicated that the newly created office would be a cross-cutting position and that its eventual occupant would be charged with working with experts across all FERC program offices to ensure that EJ and equity matters are integrated into Commission decisions.  On May 20, Chairman Glick announced the appointment of Montina Cole to serve as Senior Counsel for Environmental Justice and Equity.  The FERC press release describes Cole as a “seasoned executive and attorney” with an active consulting and legal practice, “where she works at the intersection of climate policy, racial equity and resilience.”
Continue Reading FERC Fills Newly Created EJ Position

Addressing environmental justice (EJ) concerns highlighted during the campaign is an important priority for the Biden Administration.  Within a week of taking the oath of office, President Biden issued a sweeping executive order with a number of EJ initiatives, including creation of a White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council consisting of the heads of each Cabinet-level and independent federal agency.  The order also directed federal agencies to “make achieving environmental justice part of their missions” through development of programs and policies aimed at addressing disproportionately high adverse environmental impacts on disadvantaged communities.
Continue Reading FERC to Increase Focus on Environmental Justice