Photo of 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.

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.  Aggregators will now be able to aggregate multiple small DERs as a single resource to compete in the markets, smoothing the way for many more of such resources to enter the wholesale market.
Continue Reading FERC Opens Electricity Markets to Distributed Resource Aggregators

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 cost-of service transmission rates instead of relying entirely on energy market revenues.  Commissioner James Danly, however, dissented from the tariff order, preferring to maintain the bright line between generation and transmission previously established by FERC.
Continue Reading Electric Storage May Be Treated as Transmission

The Department of Energy (DOE) adopted a new policy which extends the standard term for authorizations to export natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the U.S. lower-48 states to countries without a free trade agreement with the U.S. to December 31, 2050.  The standard term had been 20 years.  The new standard term will be allowed for current and future export authorizations.
Continue Reading DOE Extends LNG Export Terms

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 in a prior post to this blog, FERC considered reforming its regulations due in part to changes in the electric power industry over the last several decades.

Continue Reading FERC Revises PURPA Rules

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 to the threat of a coordinated cyberattack targeting geographically distributed generation resources.  On June 18, 2020, FERC also issued a staff paper that suggests a framework for providing incentives in transmission rates for cybersecurity investments.

These FERC actions may presage regulatory actions that could have material operational and cost implications for all grid participants.  Accordingly, FERC is seeking comments on both documents with deadlines of August 24, 2020 for the NOI and August 17, 2020 for the staff paper.  Major grid participants would be well advised to evaluate the NOI and staff paper and consider responding to FERC’s request for comments.
Continue Reading FERC Requests Comments on Grid Cybersecurity Initiatives

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 of significant interest to a wide range of market participants and their investors, plus consumers of electricity, state policymakers and other diverse interests.
Continue Reading FERC Carbon Pricing Conference Set

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 gas and oil and energy infrastructure reliability.
Continue Reading FERC Plans Conference on COVID-19 Impacts

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 in such quantities or under such circumstances as to threaten to impair the national security.”
Continue Reading National Security Tariff Investigation of Steel-Based Components of Electrical Transformers: Comment Dates Set

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 shipments qualify for categorical exclusion from NEPA review.
Continue Reading DOE Proposes to Stop Evaluating Environmental Impacts of LNG Exports

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 discuss the technical and implementation issues raised by incorporating carbon pricing policies into the organized wholesale markets operated by Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs).
Continue Reading FERC Carbon Pricing Conference Urged