On March 21, 2024, FERC issued a Notice of Inquiry (“NOI”) seeking additional information on whether the Commission should continue to allow interstate pipelines to package “high value” capacity with non-contiguous and operationally unrelated parcels of capacity in a single auction or open season, thus requiring interested bidders to bid on both segments of capacity.  Initial comments on the NOI are due by June 20, 2024.Continue Reading FERC Initiates Inquiry into Capacity Allocation on Non-Contiguous Pipeline Segments

On March 21, 2024, FERC proposed to prohibit transmission providers from being compensated through their transmission rates charges for reactive power that is within the standard power factor range from generating facilities.  Similarly, FERC proposed to revise both the large generator interconnection agreement (“LGIA”) and small generator interconnection agreement (“SGIA”) to remove the requirement that a transmission provider pay an interconnection customer for reactive power within the standard power factor range if the transmission provider pays its own or affiliated generators for the same service.  If the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) becomes final as proposed, transmission providers would only be required to pay an interconnection customer for reactive power when the transmission provider asks the interconnection customer to operate its facility outside the standard power factor range set forth in its interconnection agreement.Continue Reading FERC Proposes to Largely Eliminate Compensation for Reactive Power

On March 21, 2024, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing to consider President Biden’s three recent nominations to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or “Commission”): (1) David Rosner for the term expiring June 30, 2027; (2)Lindsay S. See for the term expiring June 30, 2028; and (3)Judy W. Chang for the term expiring June 30, 2029.Rosner is an energy industry analyst at FERC and led efforts related to the Commission’s rulemaking on energy storage resources, electric transmission, offshore wind integration, fuel security, and natural gas-electric coordination. See is the Solicitor General of West Virginia, and manages West Virginia’s civil and criminal appellate dockets, with a focus on regulatory and administrative law matters. Chang is an energy economics and policy analyst and was the former Undersecretary of Energy and Climate Solutions for Massachusetts, where she set policies for the Commonwealth’s energy sector.Continue Reading Senate Committee Considers Three New FERC Nominees

On February 15, 2024, FERC approved two new extreme cold weather Reliability Standards EOP-011-4 (Emergency Operations) and TOP-002-5 (Operations Planning).

This approval is the culmination of a joint inquiry and November 2021 report (“Report”) among FERC, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”), and regional entity staff into a February 2021 cold weather reliability event that affected Texas and the South-Central United States, which was the largest controlled firm load shed event in U.S. history.  The Report recommended reliability standard enhancements to improve extreme cold weather operations, preparedness, and coordination.Continue Reading FERC Approves Extreme Cold Weather Reliability Standards EOP-011-4 and TOP-002-5

At the February 15, 2024, FERC open meeting and in four orders issued the same day, FERC established a new policy governing its issuance of preliminary permits under section 4(f) of the Federal Power Act (“FPA”), pursuant to which it will not issue preliminary permits for projects located on Tribal lands if the Tribe on whose land the project is proposed to be located opposes the permit. FERC explained that this policy change is based on the agency’s commitment to ensuring that Tribal concerns and interests are considered whenever FERC’s actions or decisions have the potential to adversely affect Tribes or Tribal trust resources. To avoid future permit denials, FERC emphasized that potential applicants should fully inform Tribes about proposed projects on their lands before filing the permit application.Continue Reading FERC Establishes New Policy to Reject Hydropower Preliminary Permit Applications Based on Tribal Opposition to Projects Located on Their Tribal Lands

On January 18, 2024, FERC granted a certificate of public convenience and necessity to Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC (“Transco”) to construct and operate the Texas to Louisiana Energy Pathway Project (“Texas to Louisiana Project”), an approximately $91.8 million expansion project designed to provide 364,400 dekatherms per day of firm transportation service to EOG Resources, Inc. (“EOG Resources”). The Texas to Louisiana Project will provide firm transportation service to EOG Resources through a combination of (1) the conversion of Transco’s IT Feeder System to firm transportation service, (2) the turnback of certain firm transportation service by Transco’s existing customers, and (3) the addition of incremental firm transportation service made possible by the construction of a new compressor station and modifications to existing compressor stations in Texas. The Texas to Louisiana Project is fully subscribed by EOG Resources pursuant to a fifteen-year precedent agreement (“Project Precedent Agreement”).Continue Reading FERC Grants Certificate to Transco’s Texas to Louisiana Energy Pathway Project

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 30, 2023, the Commission denied a waiver request and a request for remedial relief from Ridgeview Solar LLC (“Ridgeview Solar”). Ridgeview Solar had sought a waiver or remedial relief from the procedural deadline in section 212.4 of the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) Open Access Transmission Tariff (“Tariff”) to post security after the deadline outlined in the section.Continue Reading FERC Rejects Solar Developer’s Request for Waiver of Security Posting Requirements After Using the Wrong Form; FERC Urges Tariff Changes

On December 19, 2023, FERC issued a Notice of Inquiry (“NOI”) to examine whether and how to revise its policy on providing blanket authorizations for holding companies, including investment companies, to acquire securities in electric utilities and their upstream owners pursuant to section 203(a)(2) of the Federal Power Act (“FPA”). Specifically, the Commission is soliciting comment on what constitutes control of a public utility in evaluating holding companies’ requests for authorization and what factors it should consider when evaluating control. Commissioner Mark Christie concurred with a separate statement, stating that FERC should examine whether investment companies are truly acting as passive investors in electric utilities and whether FERC’s blanket authorization practices are still sufficient to protect the interests of the electric utilities’ customers.Continue Reading FERC Opens Inquiry into Upstream Investment Interests in Public Utilities

On December 12, 2023, FERC staff offered information and recommendations to help registered entities (i.e., users, owners, and operators of the bulk electric system) improve their compliance with mandatory Critical Infrastructure Protection (“CIP”) reliability standards and their overall cybersecurity postures (the “Report”).  The recommendations are based on FERC staff’s non-public CIP audits of U.S.-based North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) registered entities during Fiscal Year 2023, which included the participation of NERC and the regional entities.  FERC staff found that registered entities generally met the mandatory requirements of the CIP Standards, although potential noncompliance and security risks remained. FERC staff also identified and made recommendations concerning other voluntary best practices that could improve cybersecurity.  FERC staff explained that the CIP standards aim to mitigate cybersecurity and physical security risks to the bulk electric system’s facilities and equipment.  The Commission approved the first set of eight mandatory CIP standards on cybersecurity on January 28, 2008, and has since revised the standards to respond to emerging cybersecurity issues.  FERC began its CIP standards audit program for registered entities in 2016 and has conducted CIP audits each year since.  Continue Reading FERC Staff Issues Report on Lessons Learned from 2023 CIP Audits