At its May 23, 2024 open meeting, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) proposing to establish a one-year “reasonable period of time” for certifying authorities to act on requests for water quality certification under section 401 of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”).  The proposed rule also clarifies that all FERC authorizations “that have the potential to discharge into waters of the United States,” including exemptions from licensing, require either a section 401 water quality certification or waiver thereof.Continue Reading FERC Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Conform to EPA’s Recent CWA § 401 Rule

On May 13, 2024, the Commission announced two major transmission reform final rules: Building for the Future Through Electric Regional Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation (“Order No. 1920”) and Applications for Permits to Site Interstate Electric Transmission Facilities (“Order No. 1977”). Order No. 1920, which adopts specific requirements for how transmission providers must conduct long-term planning and allocate costs for regional transmission facilities, was the subject of significant debate at today’s meeting and only mustered two votes in support from the three sitting commissioners. The Commission unanimously approved Order No. 1977, which updates the process FERC will use in the limited circumstances in which it must exercise its authority over siting electric transmission lines, as directed by Congress in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (“IIJA”).Continue Reading Divided FERC Announces Much-Anticipated Transmission Rules

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

The IRS and the Treasury Department issued proposed regulations under Section 48 on November 22, 2023 (Proposed Regulations), providing further guidance in determining whether property is energy property and eligible for the Section 48 credit (ITC). As part of this further guidance, the Proposed Regulations introduce a new framework for the definition of energy property, provide welcome clarification regarding the eligibility of energy property for multiple credits, and provide guidance on the Section 48(a)(10)(C) recapture rules applicable to failures to satisfy the prevailing wage and apprenticeship requirements (PWA requirements). Taxpayers must be aware of these energy property requirements and additional ITC eligibility guidance to ensure future eligibility for the ITC. The Proposed Regulations would amend Treasury Regulation Section 1.48-9, withdraw and replace Proposed Treasury Regulation 1.48-13 as it was proposed in REG-100908-23 (PWA Proposed Regulations), and introduce Proposed Regulation Section 1.48-14. The Proposed Regulations follow the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) and the publication of Notice 2022-49, 2022-43 I.R.B. 321, which requested comments on issues arising under Section 48.Continue Reading IRS Issues Proposed Regulations on Energy Property and Rules Applicable to Energy Credit Under Section 48

On October 19, 2023, FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (“NOPR”) proposing various changes to its Electric Quarterly Report (“EQR”) filing requirements. According to FERC, the proposed changes are designed to update the data collection process, improve data quality, increase market transparency, decrease costs of preparing necessary data for submission, and streamline compliance with future filing requirements. The following is a summary of the primary reforms proposed.Continue Reading FERC Proposes Changes to Filing Requirements and Data Collection for Electric Quarterly Report

On September 5, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (“Ninth Circuit”), in Solar Energy Industries Association v. FERC, held that the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act (“PURPA”) gives FERC broad discretion to evaluate which implementation rules are needed to encourage the development of qualifying small-scale renewable generating facilities. While the Ninth Circuit did not vacate FERC’s decision, it remanded the decision back to FERC for failing to conduct the proper National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) review. The decision stems from the Solar Energy Industries Association and several environmental organizations’ (collectively, “Petitioners”) challenge to Order Nos. 872 and 872‑A (collectively, “Order 872”), which were rules adopted by FERC that altered which small-scale renewable facilities qualify for benefits under PURPA and how those facilities are compensated (see July 20, 2020 edition of the WER).Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Finds that PURPA Gives FERC Broad Implementation Discretion, But Remands New Qualifying Facility Rules for Lack of NEPA Review

On August 10, 2023 in response to incentives made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) proposed reforms to its regulations governing the coordination of Federal authorizations for the development of interstate, onshore electric transmission facilities and to establish the Coordinated Interagency Transmission Authorizations and Permits Program (“CITAP Program”). The main goal of the CITAP Program, which will be administered by DOE’s Grid Deployment Office, is to “reduce the time required for transmission project developers to receive decisions on Federal authorizations for transmission projects.” Public comments are due by 11:59pm ET on October 2, 2023.Continue Reading Department of Energy Proposes New Program to Streamline Federal Authorizations to Site Interstate Transmission Projects

On June 15, 2023, FERC issued Order No. 895, adopting new regulations permitting regional transmission organizations (“RTO”) and independent system operators (“ISO”) to share, amongst each other, credit-related information of their market participants, and requiring RTOs/ISOs to adopt tariff or similar rules for providing credit-related information sharing in order to better assess market participants’ credit risks.Continue Reading FERC Adopts Regulations to Permit Credit-Related Information Sharing

On June 15, 2023, FERC issued two final rules aimed at boosting bulk power system resilience by improving how grid operators assess and plan for extreme weather impacts to the transmission system. One rule directs NERC to develop a reliability standard that requires transmission system planners to account for a range of extreme weather conditions, and the other rule directs each FERC-jurisdictional transmission provider to submit an informational report to the Commission that outlines its policies and processes for conducting extreme weather vulnerability assessments.Continue Reading FERC Directs NERC to Develop New Transmission Planning Reliability Standard; Directs Transmission Providers to Submit One-Time Informational Reports on Extreme Weather Risk Assessment

On March 3, 2023, the House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Energy, Climate Change, and Grid Security Subcommittee Chair Jeff Duncan (R-SC) sent a letter to Acting FERC Chairman Willie Phillips and Commissioners asking the Commission to respond to a series of questions related to FERC’s authority as it relates to two policy statements issued in February 2022 and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) issued in December 2022. The two policy statements concern Greenhouse Gas (“GHG”) emissions of natural gas infrastructure projects (see February 18, 2022 Troutman Pepper Insights; February 23, 2022 edition of the WER). The NOPR would require applicants proposing to build electric transmission infrastructure to prepare Environmental Justice Public Engagement Plans.Continue Reading House Republicans Press FERC on Environmental Review Issues