FERC Clarifies Impacts from Lost Capacity Market Rights in NYISO

On October 25, 2017, FERC issued an order explaining the market consequences when a resource loses certain participation rights in the New York Intendent System Operator, Inc. (“NYISO”) Installed Capacity (“ICAP”) market.  The order on clarification, which was requested by NRG Power Marketing LLC and GenON Energy Management, LLC (collectively, “NRG”), followed a January 27, 2017 decision in which FERC largely accepted NYISO’s proposed revisions to its Market Administration and Control Area Services Tariff (“Tariff”) to correct a pricing inefficiency in its ICAP market design.  As FERC clarified in this most recent order, when a capacity resource loses its ability to participate in NYISO’s ICAP market, certain benefits or discounts tied to that participation ability—here, a so-called “Locality Exchange Factor”—fall away. Continue reading

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SPP Transmission Owners File FERC Complaint Over Alleged Cost Shifting

On October 13, 2017, a group of transmission owners in the Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (“SPP”) filed a complaint with FERC under Section 206 of the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) alleging that SPP’s Open Access Transmission Tariff (“Tariff”) is unjust and unreasonable because it lacks cost-shifting protections when new transmission owners join existing SPP transmission pricing zones. To correct this alleged “loophole,” the complainants propose a new rate schedule for new transmission owners that are placed into existing zones. Continue reading

FERC Sets Comment Deadline and Poses Questions for Commenters on DOE Proposed Rule

On October 2, 2017, FERC issued notice of the September 29, 2017 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) from the United States Department of Energy (“DOE”) under section 403 of the Department of Energy Organization Act.  In the NOPR, DOE urges FERC to act quickly to enact rules requiring regional transmission organizations and independent system operators (“RTOs/ISOs”) to provide just and reasonable rates for “fuel-secure” generation units (seeOctober 2, 2017 edition of the WER).  Shortly thereafter, on October 4, FERC staff issued a Request for Information, listing various questions for commenters to address in aiding the Commission to better understand the NOPR’s implications.  Commenting parties have until October 23, 2017 to file initial comments and until November 7, 2017 to file reply comments.  In recent testimony before the Senate’s Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, FERC General Counsel, James Danly, confirmed that FERC intends to review the comments and take final action within 60 days of the NOPR’s publication, as requested by the DOE. Continue reading

Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Holds Hearing to consider FERC Nominees

On September 7, 2017, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (“Committee”) held a hearing to consider the nominations of Kevin McIntyre and Richard Glick—President Trump’s final nominees for FERC. Mr. McIntyre and Mr. Glick, who were joined by two nominees also being considered for Department of Interior positions, fielded questions from Committee members but largely avoided opining on matters currently pending at FERC. Knowing that FERC only just recently reestablished the required quorum to resume regular business (see August 11, 2017 edition of the WER), Committee Chairman Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) stated that she was eager to advance the FERC nominees to the full Senate for confirmation. Continue reading

Federal District Court Dismisses Challenges to New York ZEC Program

On July 25, 2017, two weeks after an Illinois federal judge issued a similar ruling, the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York (“District Court”) issued an order dismissing challenges to a New York state “zero emission credit” (“ZEC”) program established by the New York Public Service Commission (“NYPSC”).  As with the Illinois court’s decision regarding the Illinois ZEC program (see July 25, 2017 edition of the WER), the District Court found the New York ZEC program constitutional and determined that the challengers lacked a private right of action to challenge the New York ZEC program on preemption and dormant commerce clause grounds.  Nevertheless, the District Court reached, and rejected, the merits of those challenges.  Continue reading

Federal District Court Dismisses Illinois ZEC Challenges; Appeal Heads to Seventh Circuit

On July 14, 2017, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division (“District Court”), issued a memorandum opinion and order dismissing various challenges to an Illinois “zero emission credit” (“ZEC”) program passed into law at the end of 2016 (“ZEC Program”).  After finding that the plaintiffs largely lacked standing to bring their claims, the District Court nonetheless reached the merits of, and rejected, the plaintiffs’ preemption, equal protection, and dormant commerce clause challenges to the ZEC Program.  Three days after its release, the ruling was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (“Seventh Circuit”). Continue reading

D.C. Circuit Rejects FERC’s use of FPA Section 205 to Revise PJM Minimum Offer Price Rule

On July 7, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) vacated and remanded a set of FERC orders in 2013 and 2015 that revised the minimum offer price rule (“MOPR”) of the PJM Interconnection, LLC (“PJM”).  The D.C. Circuit held that FERC exceeded its role under Federal Power Act (“FPA”) Section 205 by imposing changes that amounted to an “entirely new rate scheme” for PJM. Continue reading

Second Circuit Upholds Connecticut’s Renewables Solicitation Program and RPS Against Preemption, Dormant Commerce Clause Challenges

On June 28, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (“Second Circuit”) affirmed a district court’s dismissal of challenges to Connecticut’s renewable energy solicitation program and Renewable Portfolio Standard (“RPS”) law. The Second Circuit rejected arguments from the plaintiff-appellant, Allco Finance Limited (“Allco”), that the solicitation program was preempted by the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) and the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (“PURPA”) and that the RPS law unduly burdens interstate commerce, in violation of the “dormant commerce clause.” Continue reading

D.C. Circuit Rejects Challenges to PJM’s Capacity Market Rules, Including Year-Round Requirement Impacting Renewable Energy Generators

On June 20, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit” or “the court”) rejected petitions for review challenging FERC’s approval of capacity market rules set by the PJM Interconnection, LLC (“PJM”) in 2014.  The D.C. Circuit held that FERC’s approval of the rules was adequately explained and within its statutory authority under the Federal Power Act.  In particular, the D.C. Circuit rejected assertions from various environmental, clean energy, and public utility petitioners that the new capacity market rules unduly discriminated against variable energy resources like solar and wind power. Continue reading

CAISO Issues Draft Final Proposal on Energy Storage and Distributed Energy Resources

On June 8, 2017, the California Independent System Operator (“CAISO”) released the draft final proposal of Phase 2 of its energy storage and distributed energy resources (“ESDER”) initiative.  The aim of the proposal is to lower the barrier to entry and market participation for various transmission grid-connected energy storage and distribution-connected resources. “Integrating these resources,” the proposal states, “will help lower carbon emissions and add operational flexibility.” Continue reading