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Category Archives: FERC

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Federal Appeals Court Allows FERC to Continue Pipeline Policy that Encourages Overbuilding

Posted in FERC
Several weeks ago, we reported on a new Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Notice of Inquiry (NOI) seeking comments on whether its existing return on equity (ROE) policy should be revamped. A recent federal court of appeals ruling enhances the importance of this new FERC NOI for those concerned that the current policy encourages pipeline… Continue Reading

FERC Staff Seeks Clarification of Proposed RTO/ISO Tariff Revisions to Facilitate Participation of Energy Storage Resources in Regional Markets

Posted in FERC
Energy storage resources such as pumped storage hydroelectric generators, lithium ion batteries, and flywheels, are becoming increasingly significant in maintaining the reliability and resilience of the interstate electricity grid. However, these resources, which both inject energy into the grid and receive energy from it, have unique operating characteristics which affect their ability to participate in… Continue Reading

FERC Approves Termination of Market Power Mitigation Measures

Posted in FERC
Market power mitigation measures adopted in 2005 to address horizontal market power concerns arising from the merger of Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities and the subsequent withdrawal of LG&E/KU from the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. have recently been terminated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, over the objection of Commissioner Cheryl… Continue Reading

FERC to Address Pipeline Overbuilding and Excessive Returns

Posted in FERC
Although primarily focused on the electric transmission industry, a recent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Notice of Inquiry (NOI) announced reconsideration of how the agency determines returns on equity (ROE) and seeks comments on whether it should apply any revamped ROE policies to interstate natural gas and oil pipelines. This NOI creates an additional avenue… Continue Reading

FERC Initiates Review of Return on Equity, Electric Transmission Incentives

Posted in FERC
On March 21, 2019, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued Notices of Inquiry regarding (1) its method for determining the return on equity for rates charged by public utilities (and whether such ROEs should also be applied to interstate natural gas and oil pipelines) (Inquiry Regarding the Commission’s Policy for Determining Return on Equity,), and… Continue Reading

FERC Denies Authorization to Acquire Transmission Facilities Due to Adverse Rate Impacts

Posted in FERC
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently denied an application by GridLiance High Plains LLC for authorization to acquire certain transmission assets from People’s Electric Cooperative, a rural electric cooperative in Oklahoma. FERC found that the transaction would have an adverse impact on FERC-jurisdictional rates and would not result in any meaningful offsetting benefits.  GridLiance… Continue Reading

FERC Reverses Course; Denies Tariff Waiver for Retroactive Collection of Transmission Upgrade Costs

Posted in FERC
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently ruled that it lacks authority to waive tariff restrictions against retroactive adjustment of transmission service charges in order to enable a transmission provider to recover transmission upgrade costs from customers that benefit from such upgrades. In so doing, the FERC reversed an earlier decision in which it had granted… Continue Reading

FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee Announces Ambitious Agenda for Addressing Electric Industry Regulatory Issues

Posted in FERC
FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee has announced an ambitious agenda for addressing a myriad of regulatory issues affecting the wholesale electricity industry during 2019. In remarks delivered during the NARUC 2019 Winter Policy Summit, Chairman Chatterjee observed that “the energy landscape in the United States is currently undergoing a dramatic and historic transformation,” and identified some… Continue Reading

Energy Efficiency Resource Advocates Challenge ISO-New England Attempt to Reduce Compensation

Posted in FERC, Sustainability
Energy efficiency resource advocates recently petitioned FERC to block an attempt by the ISO New England to reduce the compensation paid for energy efficiency in its Forward Capacity Auctions. Advanced Energy Economy and Sustainable FERC Project, FERC Docket No. EL19-43-000, Petition for Declaratory Order filed Feb. 13, 2019. Energy efficiency resources are products such as… Continue Reading

FERC Issues Order Protecting Its Jurisdiction Over Wholesale Power Agreements of Bankrupt Utility

Posted in FERC
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has ruled that if any party purchasing electricity pursuant to a FERC-jurisdictional wholesale power agreement proposes to reject that contract as part of a reorganization under the Bankruptcy Code, such party, “must obtain approval from both this Commission and the bankruptcy court to modify the filed rate and reject the… Continue Reading

FERC Rejects Notice of Termination Despite Breach of LGIA

Posted in FERC
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently rejected a notice of termination of a large generator interconnection agreement (LGIA), despite finding that the interconnection customer had breached the terms of the agreement. The interconnection customer failed to make scheduled interim payments toward the estimated cost of interconnection facilities and network upgrades, as required under the… Continue Reading

FERC Proposes to Reduce Information Burdens on Certain Market-Based Rate Sellers of Electricity

Posted in FERC
Forex candlestick pattern. Trading chart concept. Financial market chart. Energy and Power icons set and grunge brush stroke. Energy generation and heavy industry. 3D renderingIn a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking dated December 20, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is proposing to reduce the burden on certain entities that sell electricity into organized wholesale electricity markets at market-based rates. At the present time, each entity proposing to sell electricity at market-based rates in wholesale electricity markets must include two… Continue Reading

Residential Solar Developers and Investors Seek Regulatory Clarity from FERC

Posted in FERC
As the costs of residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems fall and installations rise, developers and investors face new regulatory hurdles. Registration as a qualifying facility (QF) under the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA) recently has become a common subject of concern among both developers and tax equity investors. Developers are working to determine whether… Continue Reading

Could Pairing Storage + Renewables Change a Qualifying Facility’s Status?

Posted in FERC
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is currently considering whether pairing energy storage with a wind power project could change that facility’s status in FERC Docket No. EL18-195-000. In August 2018, Northwestern Energy petitioned FERC to revoke qualifying facility (QF) status from four Beaver Creek Wind II, LLC (“Beaver Creek”) wind-plus-battery projects under the Public… Continue Reading

Recent DOE Audit Spurs Modernization of FERC.Gov

Posted in FERC
Controversies over natural gas pipeline siting and construction have turned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) into a newsmaker in recent years. As public awareness concerning pipeline projects grows, more members of the public are turning to the FERC’s website (ferc.gov), to understand how FERC evaluates pipeline certificate applications and to get updates on the… Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Sinks FERC Hydro License for Failure to Adequately Consider Past Environmental Harm

Posted in Electric Power, FERC, Natural Resources, Renewables, Water Law
Last Friday, the D.C. Circuit torpedoed a hydroelectric license issued in 2013 to Alabama Power Company because the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) “declined to factor in the decades of environmental damage already wrought by exploitation of the waterway for power generation and that damage’s continuing ecological… Continue Reading

FERC’s New Gas Pipeline Certificate Notice of Inquiry: Unlikely to Change the Status Quo

Posted in FERC
On April 19, FERC issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) soliciting public comments on whether to revise its long-standing policy governing the processing and approval of new natural gas pipeline facilities under Section 7 of the Natural Gas Act. Although this opens the floodgates to public comment on very contentious issues, it is unlikely to result in… Continue Reading

FERC Raises the Bar for Public Participation in Gas Pipeline Certificate Proceedings

Posted in FERC
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has a long-standing reputation for non-partisan decision-making. This was reinforced by its January 2018 rejection of the Department of Energy’s demand that electric pricing rules be changed to incentivize coal-fired and nuclear electric generation.  More recent FERC actions, however, suggest that this independent regulatory agency is trending towards greater… Continue Reading

FERC Should Reconsider Its Bias in Favor of Incremental Pricing of Pipeline Expansions

Posted in FERC
At his first Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) meeting this past December, Chairman Kevin McIntyre announced the agency will be soliciting comments on whether to revise its 1999 Certificate Policy Statement (CPS), which FERC uses to evaluate applications to build new pipelines or expand existing ones. Under the CPS, the pipeline must show that the… Continue Reading

FERC Allows Electric Storage Participation in Wholesale Markets; Sets Technical Conference for Distributed Energy Resource Aggregation

Posted in FERC
Electric Storage On February 15, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or “Commission”) issued a final rule (Order No. 841, the “Order”) requiring each independent system operator (“ISO”) and regional transmission organization (“RTO”) to adjust their tariffs to better accommodate energy storage resources. Eligible storage facilities include any “resource capable of receiving electric energy… Continue Reading

Industry Petition Pushes FERC to Require Gas Pipelines and Storage Companies to Immediately Reflect Lower Tax Rates in Shipper Rates

Posted in FERC
In light of reduced corporate tax rates as the result of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (Tax Act), a broad coalition of gas industry trade associations and gas producers recently filed a petition with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) urging the agency to lower gas pipeline and storage company rates to reflect tax rate… Continue Reading

FERC Rejects FirstEnergy’s Application To Transfer Generating Facility to an Affiliated Utility

Posted in FERC
In an order issued on January 12, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or “Commission”) rejected an application by Monongahela Power Company (“Mon Power”), a franchised public utility subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. (“FE”) engaged in providing electric service in West Virginia, to acquire needed generation capacity from an affiliate. Mon Power had concluded through… Continue Reading