Jonathan Wright is a member of the firm’s Energy Industry Group, and counsels industry clients on a diverse range of transactional and regulatory matters. Mr. Wright counsels developers, investors and lenders in the development and financing of energy infrastructure assets, as well as mergers and acquisitions, with a particular focus on renewable generation and battery storage facilities.

Mr. Wright also counsels clients on electric and natural gas matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, where he previously served as an Attorney-Advisor in the Office of the General Counsel. He specializes in matters involving electric generation interconnection, wholesale electric market design and participation, mergers and acquisitions involving jurisdictional assets, and natural gas pipeline rate proposals.

On June 22, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a decision in Environmental Defense Fund v. FERC vacating and remanding FERC’s order issuing a certificate of public convenience and necessity to Spire STL Pipeline LLC (“Spire STL”) under Section 7 of the Natural Gas Act.  The decision is a rare instance of the D.C. Circuit vacating a FERC certificate order upon finding that FERC’s determination regarding the market need for the proposed pipeline was arbitrary and capricious, and was not supported by the Commission’s Certificate Policy Statement. Thus, there is no clear precedent for how FERC may approach Spire STL’s application moving forward.  The D.C. Circuit’s decision also comes as FERC considers revising its Certificate Policy Statement, including the framework for determining need for a proposed project, after receiving over 100 comment filings from interested stakeholders in response to FERC’s February 18 Notice of Inquiry on certificate policy.
Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Vacates FERC’s Spire STL Pipeline Certificate Order

On June 17, FERC took two actions intended to facilitate greater coordination with and between state regulators on electric transmission policy and development.  First, FERC issued an order establishing a Joint Federal-State Task Force on Electric Transmission (Task Force), and soliciting nominations for state commission representation on the Task Force from the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). According to FERC’s order, the Task Force will focus on topics related to efficiently and fairly planning and paying for transmission, including generator interconnection, that provide benefits from a federal and state perspective. If successful, the Task Force could play a critical role in re-designing FERC’s interstate transmission policy to better accommodate the state-policy-driven development of renewable energy generation facilities across the country.
Continue Reading FERC Establishes Unprecedented Joint Federal-State Task Force on Electric Transmission, Issues Policy Statement on State Voluntary Agreements

On February 16, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order accepting an executed State Agreement Approach Study Agreement (Study Agreement) between PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (PJM) and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJ BPU), pursuant to which PJM will solicit project proposals to expand or upgrade its transmission system to provide for the deliverability of 7,500 MW of offshore wind into New Jersey by 2035.  New Jersey is the first state in the PJM region to use the State Agreement Approach, a supplementary transmission planning and cost allocation mechanism in PJM’s Operating Agreement designed to meet states’ public policy needs.
Continue Reading FERC Accepts Study Agreement to Assess New Jersey Offshore Wind Deliverability

On February 12, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued an order adopting two pilots to test two frameworks for procuring distributed energy resources (DERs) to avoid or defer utility distribution investments by the state’s three investor-owned utilities.  The first framework, coined as the Partnership Pilot by the CPUC, is a five-year pilot establishing a DER distribution deferral tariff with a tiered payment structure open to any DER customer type. The Standard-Offer-Contract Pilot, the second framework, is a three-year pilot that will offer standard offer contracts to in-front-of-the-meter DERs.  The adoption of these frameworks is a continuation of the CPUC’s effort to implement Public Utilities Code Section 769, which took effect in 2015 and requires the CPUC to, among other things, identify mechanisms for the cost-effective deployment of DERs that satisfy distribution planning objectives.
Continue Reading CPUC Adopts Pilots Aimed At Procuring DERs In Lieu of Grid Investment

In a move that further bolsters the state of New York’s status as a trailblazer in America’s energy transformation, on July 21, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the largest combined renewable energy solicitations in U.S. history.  New York is seeking up to 4,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind and onshore renewable energy capacity to help meet the resource goals established under its 2016 Clean Energy Standard and its 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA).  The solicitations also contemplate a combined $400 million in public and private funding to upgrade the state’s port infrastructure in order to accommodate the development of the new offshore wind facilities.  New York’s solicitations not only present an unprecedented market opportunity for offshore wind and other renewable developers, but also for businesses seeking to provide key construction and operations and maintenance products and services to the offshore wind industry.
Continue Reading New York Doubles Down On Offshore Wind and Sets Renewables RFP Record

State regulation of net metering may be a thing of the past if a recent petition filed by the New England Ratepayers Association (“NERA”) with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) is granted.  NERA’s petition requests that FERC (1) find that there is exclusive federal jurisdiction over wholesale energy sales from generation sources located on the customer side of the retail meter (such as rooftop solar facilities), and (2) order that the rates for such sales be priced in accordance with the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (“PURPA”) or the Federal Power Act (“FPA”), as applicable.
Continue Reading A Sale Is A Sale: NERA Asks FERC To Regulate Net-Metering