Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

As the cold weather season approaches, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) are taking action to prevent a repeat of the devastating electric power outages that rocked Texas and the Midwest at the beginning of this year.
Continue Reading FERC and NERC Take Action on Winter Readiness

Late last month, the Federal Courts issued two major rulings involving certificates of public convenience and necessity for natural gas pipelines issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  While a decision by the Supreme Court was a victory for pipeline companies, a decision by the DC Circuit in another FERC case could have important impacts on the standards that pipeline companies must meet in order to demonstrate need for their proposed pipeline project.
Continue Reading Federal Courts Issue a Mixed Bag of Decisions on Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting

FERC is in the process of gathering information and building a public record on technical and market issues that are prompted by the growing interest in “hybrid resources.”  FERC held a technical conference in the summer of 2020 (Docket No. AD20-9), followed by written comments from conference participants. In mid-January 2021, FERC directed RTOs and ISOs to submit reports on specific information requests.  Those reports are due in July 2021 and will likely provide valuable RTO and ISO specific facts and information for developers seeking to build, own, and operate hybrid resources in FERC-regulated RTOs and ISOs.

This technical conference proceeding could imply that FERC sees a basis or need to revise regulations or tariffs to address issues limiting hybrid resource development.  While FERC is not mandating any new requirement at this time, it could foreshadow a rule making proceeding for new regulations that facilitate and perhaps incentivize hybrid resources.

Generally, “hybrid resources” are projects that are comprised of more than one resource type at the same plant location.  For purposes of the Technical Conference, FERC focused on hybrid resources that consist of “a generation resource and an electric storage resource paired together.”  In industry vernacular, “hybrid resources” are also referred to as “Co-Located Resources,” “Combination Resources,” or co-controlled resources that share a single point of interconnection (“POI”).
Continue Reading FERC Explores Barriers to “Hybrid Resources”

FERC recently issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) that would eliminate the need for electric power sellers with market-based rate authority who sell into certain independent system operator (ISO) and regional transmission organization (RTO) capacity markets to file two screens—the pivotal supplier screen and wholesale market-share screen—with FERC, which would simplify the horizontal market

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) took swift action to respond to the recent United Airlines v. FERC decision regarding income tax allowances, as well as to implement changes stemming from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act “to ensure that the economic benefits related to the reduction in the Federal corporate income tax rate are passed through to customers.” Specifically, FERC revised its income tax allowance policy for Master Limited Partnership (MLP) pipelines, with implications for other pass-through entities. In addition, it acted to implement federal income tax rate reductions and ordered changes affecting all FERC regulated entities.
Continue Reading FERC Acts on Income Tax Allowance and Implements the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

On January 8, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or the Commission) issued an Order terminating the rulemaking proceeding that it established to address DOE Secretary Rick Perry’s proposed Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule.  The proposed rule directed FERC to provide special compensation to certain coal and nuclear power plants (for a full summary of the proposal, refer to Husch Blackwell’s client alert).  In response, FERC found that Secretary Perry’s proposal did not meet “clear and fundamental legal requirements[.]”  FERC stated that Comments from Regional Transmission Operators (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs) did not indicate that the grid is threatened by the retirement of coal and nuclear power plants.

FERC none-the-less emphasized the importance of grid reliability and resilience, and determined that it has consistently taken action to address the issue, including:  (i) extensive reliability planning and standard setting through NERC, (ii) examination of fuel assurance methods during the 2014 Polar Vortex, (iii) certain capacity market reforms, and (iv) coordination of wholesale gas and electricity market scheduling.  To continue its reliability work, FERC initiated a new proceeding in Docket No. AD18-7 “to specifically evaluate the resilience of the bulk power system in the regions operated by regional transmission organizations (RTO) and independent system operators (ISO).”   In the new proceeding, FERC directs each RTO and ISO to submit information on certain resilience issues and concerns identified by the Commission to enable it to examine holistically the resilience of the bulk power system.  FERC stated that this new proceeding will provide further information on whether further action is warranted.   
Continue Reading FERC Rejects DOE Proposal for Special Compensation for Coal and Nuclear Generators

FERC Holds its First Meeting in Nearly Two Years with a Full Slate of Commissioners.

At the December 21, 2017 FERC open meeting, the first with the agency’s new Chairman, Kevin McIntyre and a full slate of Commissioners, several major new orders and policy initiatives were announced that are important to the energy industry, including initiating a more RTO-specific approach to fast-start resource pricing policies, new reporting requirements for cyber security incidents and a preliminary announcement of FERC’s intent to review the current pipeline certificate procedures.
Continue Reading FERC Off to a “Fast Start”