On July 28, 2022, FERC upheld changes to PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.’s (“PJM”) Reserve Market that it first required in a December 2021 order on voluntary remand from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”). FERC’s July 28 order continues to require PJM to: (1) consolidate its Tier 1 and Tier 2 Synchronized Reserve Products; (2) align reserve procurement in the day-ahead and real-time markets by establishing two 10-minute reserve requirements and one 30-minute reserve requirement in each market; (3) revert back to a stepped Operating Reserve Demand Curve (“ORDC”) and $850/MWh Reserve Penalty Factors; and (4) revert to a backward-looking Energy & Ancillary Services (“E&AS”) Offset in the Net Cost of New Entry calculation. The July 28 order also addressed challenges to the December 2021 order on the basis that the motion for voluntary remand was not filed in the D.C. Circuit pursuant to FERC’s tradition of polling the Commissioners for major litigation decisions. The order makes certain clarifications on the Chairman’s role to oversee the executive and administrative operation of FERC, including the direction of litigation. Commissioner James Danly filed a separate dissenting statement.
Continue Reading FERC Upholds PJM Reserve Market Changes, Clarifies Chairman’s Role to Oversee Major Litigation Decisions

On July 15, 2022, a FERC Administrative Law Judge (“Presiding Judge”) issued an initial decision in a proceeding involving the “threshold” issue of whether four solar generating facilities (collectively, “Facilities”) interconnected at the distribution level are eligible to receive reactive power compensation under Schedule 2 of the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) Open Access Transmission Tariff (“Tariff”). The Presiding Judge concluded that the Facilities are ineligible to receive reactive power rates because the facilities in question did not satisfy the so-called capability requirement, as explained further below.
Continue Reading FERC Judge Rules that Four Solar Generators Interconnected at the Distribution Level Are Ineligible to Receive Reactive Power Compensation Under PJM’s Tariff

On June 24th and 27th, 2022 FERC approved two stipulations and consent agreements between FERC’s Office of Enforcement (“Enforcement”) and two separate project developers. First, sPower Development Company, LLC (“sPower Devco”) agreed to a civil penalty of $24,000 after Enforcement determined that sPower Devco violated PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.’s (“PJM’s”) Tariff by submitting inaccurate information in PJM’s interconnection process. Second, Salem Harbor Power Development LP (“Harbor Power Devco”) agreed to a civil penalty of $17 million, to disgorge $26.7 million in profits, and to submit to compliance monitoring after Enforcement found that it collected capacity revenues on a project that had not yet been built nor was in commercial operation.

Continue Reading Generation Project Developers Agree to Pay Civil Penalties, Disgorge Profits, after FERC Enforcement Investigations

On June 16, FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) focused on updating procedures for interconnecting large generating facilities (20MW and above) and small generating facilities (under 20MW). The NOPR proposes significant updates to FERC’s pro forma interconnection procedures, which were first established in the early 2000s. In the intervening years, however, the nation’s generation fleet has evolved, new technologies have emerged, and interconnection wait-times have steadily increased. The NOPR proposes various reforms to help address growing interconnection queue backlogs and process delays. Comments are due 100 days after the NOPR’s publication in the Federal Register. Reply comments are due 130 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Below is a summary of the primary reforms outlined in the NOPR, which fall into three broad categories: (1) implement a first-ready, first-served cluster study process; (2) increase the speed of interconnection queue processing; and (3) incorporate technological advancements into the interconnection process. FERC’s proposed reforms are discussed further in the full summary, linked below.
Continue Reading Summary of FERC Interconnection NOPR

On April 27, 2022, members of the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) Members Committed voted in favor of a suite of tariff reforms that PJM states will revamp and improve its generator interconnection process. In a press release issued that same day, PJM stated that the changes will create a faster, more efficient interconnection process, allowing PJM to better handle the influx of interconnection requests PJM has seen in recent years and will continue seeing into the future. In a press release dated April 28, 2022, PJM reported that it plans to file the proposal with FERC in May 2022.
Continue Reading PJM Will File Interconnection Queue Reform Proposal at FERC in May 2022

On February 4, 2022, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“DC Circuit”) issued a per curiam order granting NTE Connecticut, LLC’s (“NTE”) petition for issuance of a writ under the All Writs Act to stay a FERC order issued January 3, 2022 (“January 3 Order”). The January 3 Order terminated the Killingly Energy Center’s capacity commitments in the ISO-New England, Inc. (“ISO-NE”) capacity market. The DC Circuit’s order stays FERC’s January 3 Order until 30 days after FERC resolves NTE’s pending request for rehearing of the January 3 Order. The DC Circuit’s order also states that an opinion will follow in due course.  As a result of the DC Circuit’s order, ISO-NE ran its Forward Capacity Auction on February 7, 2022 as scheduled but after “unwind[ing] the actions it had taken to terminate Killingly.” ISO-NE has stated that it will update the auction results if FERC confirms Killingly’s termination. 
Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Grants Emergency Petition for Stay of FERC’s Order Terminating Killingly Energy Center’s ISO-NE Capacity Commitments

On November 18, 2021, FERC issued a Notice of Inquiry (“NOI”) inviting comments on reactive power capability compensation and market design.  The NOI highlights various issues with reactive power filings that have resulted from significant changes to electric markets and the generation resource mix, including the potential for overcompensation.  The NOI seeks comment on various aspects of reactive power compensation, as well as potential alternative approaches that could be used to develop reactive power capability revenue requirements.  
Continue Reading FERC Issues Notice of Inquiry on Reactive Power

On September 2, 2021, FERC accepted a new Market Seller Offer Cap (“MSOC”) in the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) capacity market that will require all capacity market sellers that fail PJM’s market structure test and offer above $0/MW-day to, at their election, obtain approval for their offer from PJM’s Market Monitor or utilize a default MSOC equal to the resource’s applicable net Avoidable Cost Rate (“ACR”)—i.e., its annual operating costs—less the resource’s net energy and ancillary services (“E&AS”) revenues (“ACR Proposal”). Commissioner James Danly issued a separate dissenting statement in which he argued that the ACR Proposal will lead to over-mitigation, in part because it will require the Market Monitor to review a higher number of capacity offers than under PJM’s previously-effective MSOC. In a compliance filing on FERC’s September 2 order, PJM asked for a 55-day delay of its upcoming capacity auction (currently scheduled to begin December 1, 2021) in order to allow time for the Market Monitor to perform the required unit-specific review under the new MSOC. As of this writing, FERC has not yet acted on PJM’s request.
Continue Reading FERC Accepts Replacement Offer Cap for PJM Capacity Markets; PJM Requests Capacity Auction Delay to Implement New Offer Cap

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 September 7, 2021, FERC staff issued a whitepaper to frame discussions ahead of two technical conferences planning to discuss potential ancillary services reforms.  The whitepaper summarizes approaches that RTOs/ISOs are currently evaluating to reform energy and ancillary services markets to address the need for greater operational flexibility, including increasing shortage prices, procuring higher quantities of existing “traditional” ancillary services products (like an operating reserve demand curve), and creating new ancillary services products.
Continue Reading FERC Staff Issues Whitepaper on Energy and Ancillary Services Market Reforms Ahead of Technical Conferences