On March 24, 2022, FERC denied a petition filed by Irradiant Partners, LP (“Irradiant” or “Petitioner”) seeking waiver of the Commission’s Qualifying Facility (“QF”) filing requirement for its acquisition and recertification of 185 QFs. The Commission held that the recertification requirement—even at this scale—was not unduly burdensome, citing mitigating factors and emphasizing the particular importance of having up-to-date ownership information to assist FERC in monitoring for discrimination. Continue Reading FERC Denies Request for Waiver of Recertification Filing Requirement for Acquirer of 185 Qualifying Facilities

On March 24, 2022, FERC changed course and designated the two policy statements it issued last month regarding the certification of interstate natural gas pipelines (“Updated Policy Statement”) and consideration of greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions in natural gas project reviews (“Interim GHG Policy Statement”) as draft policy statements. The two draft policy statements will not apply to pending project applications or applications filed before FERC finalizes the policy statements. FERC also requested initial comments on the draft policy statements by April 25, 2022. Continue Reading FERC Changes Policy Statements on Pipeline Certification and GHG Emissions to Draft Policy Statements, Seeks Comment on Draft Policy Statements

On February 17, 2022, FERC set aside its September 2020 order rejecting the New York Independent System Operator Corporations (“NYISO’s”) tariff revisions to the “Part A Test,” a component of NYISO’s buyer-side mitigation (“BSM”) rules. The now-approved changes on rehearing permit NYISO to prioritize entry of renewable resources, battery storage, and other zero emission resources (“Public Policy Resources”) in New York’s Installed Capacity (“ICAP”) Market, rather than prioritizing new resources purely on a least-cost basis. FERC also ordered NYISO to submit a compliance filing within 30 days proposing a new effective date for its tariff revisions. Commissioner James Danly issued a separate dissenting statement, arguing that the reversal was a “cynical attempt” to preference renewable resources. Commissioner Mark Christie issued a separate concurring statement, agreeing with the majority that the result was just and reasonable in NYISO after concluding that the costs of the change would be confined to New York. Continue Reading FERC Reverses Prior Order, Allows NYISO to Prioritize Entry of Zero Emission Resources in New York’s Capacity Market

On February 18, 2022, FERC issued two new, significant policies governing how FERC will review proposals for new natural gas pipeline projects (see February 18, 2022, Troutman Pepper Insight). Headlining these policies is FERC’s new interim greenhouse gas (“GHG”) policy statement (“Interim GHG Policy Statement”), pursuant to which FERC will presume any gas project with 100,000 metric tons per year of carbon dioxide equivalents (“CO2e”) emissions to have a significant impact on climate change, and thus any such project will trigger the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”). Notwithstanding the interim nature of FERC’s new Interim GHG Policy Statement – where FERC is accepting comments by April 4, 2022 – FERC clarified that it will apply both policies to all pending and new project applications, effective immediately. Both commissioners James Danly and Mark Christie issued lengthy dissents to both policy statements. Continue Reading FERC Overhauls Existing Pipeline Project Analysis, Creates Separate Interim GHG Policy for Gas Infrastructure Projects.

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 January 25, 2022, FERC announced that FERC staff will hold a technical conference on Tuesday, April 26, 2022, regarding whether the Commission should require additional financial assurance mechanisms in the licenses and other authorizations that FERC issues for hydroelectric projects, to ensure that licensees have the capability to carry out license requirements and, particularly, to maintain their projects in safe condition. Continue Reading FERC to Host Technical Conference on Financial Assurance Measures for Hydroelectric Projects

On January 21, 2022, FERC accepted revisions to the Southeast Energy Exchange Market (“SEEM”) Agreement consistent with commitments made by SEEM members in response to two deficiency letters it issued before the SEEM Agreement went into effect by operation of law. Continue Reading FERC Accepts Tariff Revisions to Southeast Energy Exchange Market, Drawing Concurrences from Chairman Glick and Commissioner Clements

On January 20, 2022, FERC issued an order on remand from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) directing PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) to remove provisions from its Tariff that applied a 10 percent adder to the energy and ancillary services (“E&AS”) offset in PJM’s net Cost of New Entry (“CONE”) calculation. FERC acknowledged that energy market rules permit generators to increase their offers into the energy market by 10 percent above estimated costs. That fact alone, FERC concluded, does not justify application of the 10 percent adder to the E&AS offset in the Net CONE calculation used to establish the Variable Resource Requirement Curve (“VRR Curve”). Moreover, FERC concluded, PJM failed to present sufficient evidence to support inclusion of the 10 percent adder. FERC directed PJM to remove the 10 percent adder from its VRR Curve determination for the 2023-2024 Base Residual Auction (“BRA”) and subsequent auctions. FERC previously directed PJM to delay the start of the 2023-2024 BRA (see January 18, 2022 edition of the WER). In the January 20 order, FERC stated its expectation that PJM propose an amended BRA schedule that would provide it adequate time to remove the 10 percent adder from its Tariff. Commissioner James Danly issued a separate dissenting statement. Continue Reading On Remand, FERC Reverses Prior Approval of PJM 10% Net CONE Adder

On December 28, 2021, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) vacated and remanded a series of FERC orders that allowed for the formula rate pass-through of “indirect” public relations and advocacy expenditures incurred by Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline, LLC (“PATH”) related to its pursuit of certificates of public convenience and necessity to build a proposed electric transmission line (“December 28 Opinion”). The D.C. Circuit held that PATH had improperly booked the expenditures to incorrect accounts under FERC’s Uniform System of Accounts (“USofA”), and that Account 426.4–Expenditures for Certain Civic, Political and Related Activities, should have been used instead because it contemplated the inclusion of indirect, as well as direct, public relations and advocacy expenses.

Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Vacates and Remands FERC Orders Permitting Formula Rate Pass-Through of “Indirect” Public Relations and Advocacy Expenditures