Bud Earley

Bud Earley

Bud Earley, a non-lawyer senior advisor, provides analysis and advice on a wide range of federal and state energy regulatory issues, including transaction and rate issues, regional transmission organization (RTO) tariffs and rules, interconnection, retail choice and demand response for electricity customers, a natural gas pipelines and hydroelectric facility licenses, and LNG export authorizations.

Working with Covington teams, Mr. Earley has provided expert advice and analysis to investment firms, utilities, independent power producers, project developers, customers, marketers and U.S. and international energy companies,

Prior to joining Covington, Mr. Earley served for over 30 years in various staff positions at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). While at the FERC, Mr. Earley was instrumental in developing and applying policies regarding the transition of the electric utility industry to competition, including policies regarding independent power producers, transmission access, standard generator interconnection procedures, organized electricity markets, mergers and market-based rates.

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FERC Proposes QF Status for Some Fuel Cell Facilities

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) that would allow certain Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) systems to be certified as Qualifying Facilities under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) and thus receive regulatory benefits meant, in part, to encourage the innovation and development of cogeneration … Continue Reading

FERC Opens Electricity Markets to Distributed Resource Aggregators

The FERC approved a final rule that will enable distributed energy resource (DER) aggregators to compete in organized wholesale electricity markets.  DERs are located on the distribution system or behind the customer meter and include electric storage resources, intermittent generation, distributed generation, demand response, energy efficiency, thermal storage, and electric vehicles and their charging equipment.  … Continue Reading

Electric Storage May Be Treated as Transmission

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved tariff terms for a Regional Transmission Operator (RTO) to treat electric storage resources as transmission facilities under certain circumstances.  Previously, FERC approved only one case-specific proposal to treat storage as transmission.  Treatment as a transmission facility provides additional deployment opportunities for storage resources and allows cost recovery through … Continue Reading

FERC Revises PURPA Rules

The FERC recently issued a final rule (Order No. 872) revising its regulations implementing the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA), which encourages the development of certain renewable and cogeneration facilities.  PURPA, and FERC’s rules implementing it, establish benefits to those facilities by obligating electric utilities to purchase electricity from them.  As discussed … Continue Reading

FERC Requests Comments on Grid Cybersecurity Initiatives

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently signaled that it is exploring ways to improve the cybersecurity of the U.S. electricity grid.  On June 18, 2020, FERC issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) regarding whether some of its reliability standards regarding cybersecurity must be enhanced and whether the focus of its standards must change due … Continue Reading

FERC Carbon Pricing Conference Set

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has scheduled a conference on September 30, 2020 regarding carbon pricing in organized wholesale electricity markets.  According to the conference notice, the purpose is to discuss “considerations related to state adoption of mechanisms to price carbon dioxide emissions…in regions with FERC-jurisdictional organized wholesale electricity markets.”  This conference should be … Continue Reading

FERC Plans Conference on COVID-19 Impacts

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) has announced plans to hold a two-day technical conference on July 8-9, 2020 regarding the ongoing impacts that the emergency conditions caused by COVID-19 are having on the United States’ energy industry.  FERC’s stated objective is to ensure the continued functioning of energy markets, electricity transmission, transportation of natural … Continue Reading

National Security Tariff Investigation of Steel-Based Components of Electrical Transformers: Comment Dates Set

As described in an earlier post to this blog, the Commerce Department initiated an investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 into whether “laminations for stacked cores for incorporation into transformers, stacked and wound cores for incorporation into transformers, electrical transformers, and transformer regulators are being imported into the United States … Continue Reading

DOE Proposes to Stop Evaluating Environmental Impacts of LNG Exports

The Department of Energy proposes to no longer subject LNG exports to evaluation under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  According to a recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR), DOE says that the only source of potential environmental impacts within its authority to review are those associated with transporting natural gas by ship, and those … Continue Reading

FERC Carbon Pricing Conference Urged

A diverse group of stakeholders filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to convene a public conference to discuss integrating carbon pricing into U.S. organized regional wholesale electricity energy markets.  The group says it is not asking FERC to direct carbon pricing but instead to gather a wide range of stakeholders to … Continue Reading

FERC Conferences to Address Electric Storage Issues

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has announced two conferences to address issues raised by the increasing deployment of electric storage resources and their use in electricity markets.  One conference will address a proposal by a Regional Transmission Operator (RTO) to treat an electric storage facility as a transmission-only resource if it can resolve specific … Continue Reading

FERC Considering Changes to Transmission Incentives

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has proposed substantial changes to its policies for awarding ratemaking incentives for new transmission investment.  The most fundamental change is that FERC would no longer award incentives based on a proposed project’s risks and challenges but would instead award them based on its economic and reliability benefits.  In addition, … Continue Reading

Proposal to Treat Electric Storage as Transmission Now Before FERC

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO), has proposed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) tariff provisions that would treat electric storage facilities as transmission-only facilities if they provide the preferred solution to a transmission issue in MISO’s regional planning process.  This is the first such proposal by a wholesale … Continue Reading

DOE Proposes to Lengthen LNG Export Terms

The Department of Energy (“DOE”) is proposing to extend to December 31, 2050 the standard twenty-year term for authorizations to export natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the U.S. lower-48 states.  According to DOE, the longer term would better match the operational life of LNG export facilities, provide more security in their financing, … Continue Reading

FERC Approves Electric Storage Resource Practices in Two Regions

As described previously in this blog, FERC in 2018 adopted a rule aimed at clearing away obstacles to participation by electric storage resources in wholesale markets administered by Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs).[1]  FERC has issued orders addressing the compliance filings of two RTOs: the PJM Interconnection (PJM) and Southwest Power … Continue Reading

FERC Proposes Changes To PURPA Rules

The FERC recently issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) to reform its regulations implementing the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA), which encourages the development of certain small generation and cogeneration facilities.  PURPA and FERC’s rules implementing it over the years establish a number of benefits to those facilities and set obligations … Continue Reading

FERC Lowers Regulatory Burdens for Electricity Sellers in RTO/ISO Markets

FERC has streamlined its rules so that generators in the organized markets operated by Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs) no longer need to demonstrate a lack of horizontal market power in order to charge flexible market-based rates.  Instead, FERC will rely on existing market monitoring and mitigation measures in place in … Continue Reading

FERC Denies Rehearing on Electricity Storage Rule

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued an order denying all requests for rehearing of its rule aimed at clearing away obstacles to participation by electric storage resources in wholesale markets administered by Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs).[1]  Electric storage resources often complement renewable resources when the sun is not … Continue Reading

FERC Considering Reforms to ROE Determinations

Setting the return on equity (ROE) that utility stockholders may earn from providing certain services, primarily electric transmission and pipeline services, is a fundamental aspect of FERC’s cost-of-service regulatory regime.[1]  FERC has used the same basic method to determine ROE since the 1980s but recently made some reforms that applied to a few electric transmission … Continue Reading

FERC Approves Notice Requirement For Public Utility Mergers and Acquisitions Under New Monetary Threshold

FERC has approved a final rule that sets a $10 million threshold for requiring FERC prior approval of public utility mergers and consolidations and requires public utilities to simply notify FERC of mergers and consolidations with a value over $1 million but less than $10 million.  The changes place mergers and consolidations under the same … Continue Reading

FERC Proposes to Reduce Regulatory Burdens for Electricity Sellers in RTO/ISO Markets

FERC recently proposed to streamline its market power rules so that generators in markets operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators would no longer need to demonstrate a lack of horizontal market power in order to charge flexible market-based rates.  Instead, FERC will rely on the existing market monitoring and mitigation measures approved … Continue Reading

DOE Drops “End Use” Requirement From LNG Export Reporting

DOE’s authorizations to export natural gas, including LNG, from the U.S. impose reporting requirements regarding the destination of the exported gas and certain contracts regarding its supply and sales.  DOE recently modified one of those requirements in a significant way and proposed sharper guidelines for complying another to minimize regulatory burdens and reduce administrative uncertainty.  … Continue Reading

New York Proposes Innovative Carbon Pricing for Electricity

Carbon pricing is seen by many as an effective means of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from electricity generation.  California and several Eastern states have enacted “cap and trade” emission allowance programs, which have forced generators in those states to pay a price for their CO2 emissions.  With the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan not … Continue Reading
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