As Seattle City Light proceeds through the FERC relicensing of its Skagit River Hydroelectric Project, it faces two recent lawsuits filed by the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe and one by Skagit County.  Two of the suits are related to the Project’s alleged impacts on fish passage, and another alleges that Seattle City Light is misleading the public, or “greenwashing” with respect to its clean energy claims. Continue Reading Seattle City Light Faces Lawsuits During Skagit Relicensing

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 offering 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 gross 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, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) Staff released their report and recommendations regarding the 2021 Winter Freeze during the September Open Meeting at FERC. In this joint review, Staff reviewed what happened during the freeze, what caused the failure, and outlined various recommendations to prevent similar events in the future. Continue Reading FERC and NERC Release Report and Recommendations Regarding 2021 Winter Freeze

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 August 31, 2021, FERC denied Cross-Sound Cable Company, LLC’s (“Cross-Sound Cable”) application for incentive rate treatment to create a regulatory asset to recover costs incurred between 2016 and 2021 to comply with Interconnection Reliability Operating Limits (“IROL”) Critical Infrastructure Protection (“IROL-CIP”) costs under Schedule 17 of the ISO-New England (“ISO-NE”) Tariff. Continue Reading FERC Denies Cross-Sound Cable Company’s Application for Incentive Rate Treatment to Comply with IROL-CIP Costs

On August 27, 2021, in Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company v. FERC, Case No. 20-1062, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) denied petitions for review of FERC’s orders involving the Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (“SPP”) process for reimbursing certain of its customers for transmission system upgrades that those customers paid for pursuant to Attachment Z2 of SPP’s Open Access Transmission Tariff (“Tariff”). The D.C. Circuit’s order upheld FERC’s decision to deny retroactive waiver of Section I.7.1 of SPP’s Tariff—which provides that any billing adjustments must be made within one year after the charges were incurred—thus preventing SPP from implementing the Attachment Z2 revenue crediting process retroactively from 2008-2016. The court also upheld FERC’s orders requiring SPP to refund any charges it previously collected for the 2008-2016 period. Basing its decision on the filed rate doctrine, the court concluded that “the filed rate requirements are a formidable obstacle for entities regulated by FERC that wish to obtain retroactive relief from the terms of their tariff.” Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Denies Petitions for Review; Holds that the Filed Rate Doctrine Prevents SPP from Reimbursing Customers for Historical Transmission Upgrade Costs

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

In June 2021, Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced The Maintaining and Enhancing Hydroelectric and River Restoration Act of 2021, which would establish a tax credit for certain investments in dam safety and environmental improvements at qualified dams and separate tax credit to incentivize the removal of obsolete river obstructions, including nonpowered dams. Continue Reading Senators Murkowski and Cantwell Introduce Bipartisan Hydropower Legislation

On July 14, 2021, the City and County of Denver, Colorado, acting through its Board of Water Commissioners (“Denver Water”), filed a Complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, requesting declaratory and injunctive relief against Boulder County over the County’s alleged efforts to delay and obstruct Denver Water’s expansion of the Gross Reservoir Hydroelectric Project. Continue Reading Denver Water Files Complaint in Federal Court, Seeking Preemption of Boulder County Regulation Due to FERC Hydroelectric Project License