On November 17, 2022, FERC issued three orders intended to address the reliability impacts of the rapid integration of inverter-based resources (“IBRs”), including solar, wind, fuel cell, and battery storage resources, on the Bulk-Power System (“BPS”). Specifically, in the first proceeding, FERC directed the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) to develop a plan to register the entities that own and operate IBRs so that NERC may monitor their compliance with NERC’s Reliability Standards. In the second proceeding, FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) to direct NERC to develop new or modified Reliability Standards that address reliability gaps related to IBRs. Lastly, in the final proceeding, FERC approved revisions to two of NERC’s Reliability Standards.

Continue Reading FERC Issues Proposals Regarding Inverter-Based Resources to Improve Grid Reliability

On September 22, 2022, FERC denied a complaint filed on October 14, 2020 by Cricket Valley Energy Center LLC and Empire Generating Company, LLC. Complainants alleged that the New York Independent System Operator, Inc.’s (“NYISO’s”) capacity market offer floor rules—termed buyer-side market power mitigation rules (“BSM Rules”)—were unjust and unduly discriminatory because they failed to address price suppression in NYISO’s installed capacity (“ICAP”) spot market auctions. Complainants requested that FERC require NYISO to implement a minimum offer price rule (“MOPR”) that applies to all new and existing resources that receive out-of-market subsidies, with few or no exceptions. In denying the complaint, FERC relied on a May 2022 order accepting changes to NYISO’s BSM Rules to automatically exclude wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal, fuel cells that do not use fossil fuel, and demand response resources from adhering to an offer floor when bidding into NYISO’s capacity market. Commissioner James Danly issued a dissenting statement and Commissioner Mark Christie issued a concurring statement.

Continue Reading FERC Denies Complaint Requesting Broadly-Applicable MOPR in NYISO

On September 16, 2022, a panel of three judges on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) issued a decision in United Power, Inc. v. FERC affirming FERC’s exclusive jurisdiction over exit fees charged by Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc. (“Tri-State”), a Colorado generation and transmission cooperative.

Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Holds that FERC Has Exclusive Jurisdiction Over Exit Fees Charged by a Colorado Electric Cooperative

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