On June 16, 2022, FERC issued two Notice of Proposed Rulemakings (“NOPRs”) aimed at improving the reliability of the bulk power system against threats of extreme weather. The NOPRs build on the June 2021 Technical Conference on Climate Change, Extreme Weather, and Electric System Reliability, which revealed an industry-wide need to assess current vulnerabilities of the transmission system to weather-related risks. Continue Reading FERC Proposes Rules to Address Extreme Weather

On June 30, 2022, in a 6-3 decision, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. writing for the majority, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in West Virginia v. EPA limiting the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants. The Court’s decision could have significant implications for other executive branch agencies attempting to issue regulations that implicate “major questions.” Continue Reading Supreme Court Decision in <i>West Virginia v. EPA</i>

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 15, 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an Equity Action Plan (EAP) that introduces a two-year overhaul to review its policies to better promote equity and remove barriers to environmental justice communities.  In particular, for hydropower projects, the EAP will focus on:  (1) building and staffing its new Office of Public Participation, (2) strengthening Tribal government consultation and engagement policies and processes, (3) reviewing key regulations within the hydropower project licensing process, and (4) implementing equity readiness for staff to understand the EAP mission. Continue Reading FERC Equity Action Plan and Hydropower Licensing

On May 31, 2022, FERC accepted and set for hearing Southwest Power Pool, Inc.’s (“SPP”) proposal to revise its Open Access Transmission Tariff (“OATT”) to establish a formula rate template (“Formula Rate”) on behalf of People’s Electric Cooperative (“People’s Electric”) when People’s Electric transfers functional control of its transmission facilities to SPP on June 1, 2022. The Commission granted People’s Electric’s request to include a 50-basis point adder for participating as a member of SPP, a regional transmission organization (“RTO”). Commissioner Christie wrote separately in concurrence to express his continued support for limiting the RTO participation adder to three years. Continue Reading FERC Approves ROE Adder for SPP Membership, Prompting Statement from Commissioner Christie

On May 20, 2022, the White House announced that President Joe Biden renominated current FERC Chairman Richard Glick for a second, five-year term as a member and Chairman of the Commission.  Glick’s current term expires June 30, 2022. Continue Reading Commissioner Glick Renominated as FERC Chairman

On May 27, 2022, a divided FERC ultimately agreed to allow ISO New England Inc. (“ISO-NE”) to sunset its current minimum offer price rule (“MOPR”) as part of its capacity market. During the next two capacity auctions, ISO-NE will permit a specified quantity of resources to enter the market without being subject to buyer-side market power mitigation review.  Thereafter, ISO-NE will replace the current MOPR with a reformed buyer-side market power mitigation construct (the “MOPR Reforms”). Each of the five commissioners wrote separately, with Chairman Richard Glick, Commissioners Allison Clements and Willie Phillips, and Commissioner Mark Christie writing in concurrence and Commissioner James Daly writing in dissent. Continue Reading A Divided FERC Accepts ISO-NE’s Request to End its MOPR in Two Years

On May 19, 2022, FERC issued Order No. 881-A responding to arguments raised on rehearing of Order No. 881, which revised the pro forma OATT and FERC regulations to increase the accuracy and transparency of electric transmission line ratings. FERC ultimately sustained the result of Order No. 881, denying all requests for rehearing, but did provide a number of clarifications regarding the new requirements. Continue Reading FERC Clarifies Order on Transmission Line Ratings

On May 19, 2022, FERC staff released its 2022 Summer Energy Market and Reliability Assessment (“Summer Assessment”). The Summer Assessment forecasts “higher than average” temperatures for the summer, which are expected to have a significant impact on demand for electricity, amid a continuation of extreme drought conditions in the West, and coming on the heels of the retirement of thousands of megawatts of baseload conventional resources. Continue Reading FERC Staff Releases Annual Assessment Signaling Higher Energy Prices and Ongoing Operational Challenges During Extreme Weather Events