Archives: FERC

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FERC Outlines its Role in Implementing EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Earlier this year, FERC held four technical conferences to discuss the implications of state, regional and/or federal plans for compliance with EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) rule to set carbon emission limits for existing electricity generating units.  A major issue raised was the impact of the CPP on electric grid reliability as coal-fired generators … Continue Reading

Some Light Shed on FERC’s Role in EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Amid concerns regarding the impact on reliability of EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan (“CPP”), FERC scheduled a series of technical conferences to discuss the impacts of state, regional and/or federal plans for compliance with EPA’s proposed rule.  Such plans could affect electric reliability, wholesale electric markets and operations, and energy infrastructure.  FERC recently held the … Continue Reading

FERC Hears Concerns Regarding EPA Carbon Rules, But Next Steps Remain Less Than Clear

At the first in a series of technical conferences, industry and government stakeholders yesterday strongly urged FERC to be proactive in helping to shape the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (“CPP”).  What remains unclear, however, is precisely how the Commissioners can and will seek to influence a rulemaking over which the Commission lacks jurisdiction. FERC is convening four … Continue Reading

FERC Conferences to Address Impact of EPA’s Clean Power Plan on Electricity Reliability and Markets

Further highlighting the breadth of potential impacts of EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan on our nation’s system of electricity generation and the difficult issues posed by the relation of EPA’s proposal to state and regional energy regulatory authorities, FERC has planned a focused dialogue around these issues. Some members of Congress and others have raised concerns … Continue Reading

FERC Exploring RTO/ISO Market Pricing And Operational Practices

At its recent public meeting, FERC opened a staff-led proceeding to address price formation and related issues in the RTO/ISO wholesale electricity energy markets.  Concerns with whether these organized markets are attracting appropriate levels and types of new generation capacity and the markets’ performance during last winter’s Polar Vortex have raised questions regarding their designs … Continue Reading

New gas-fired and renewable generators stress natural gas infrastructure; more gas storage may be the answer.

Half of the new electricity generation plants added in 2013 are fired by natural gas and almost 30% of new generation is powered by solar and wind energy, according to an April 8 report from the Energy Information Administration.  This combination is likely to mean even more demands on the already-strained natural gas delivery infrastructure. … Continue Reading

FERC Acts to Improve Coordination Between the Natural Gas and Electricity Industries

The increasing reliance on natural gas to fuel electricity generators has sparked a need for more coordination between the operators of gas pipelines and electricity grids. Up to now, markets and operations in the two sectors have proceeded independently, but some differences between them have become problematic. Differences are especially problematic in New England, where … Continue Reading

FERC Acknowledges Physical Security Risks to Bulk Power System and Begins Development of Standards for Protection Against Physical Attacks

On March 7, 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) directed the North American Electric Reliability Council (“NERC”) to develop new standards for the protection of critical elements of the bulk-power system from physical attacks.  In recent years there has been considerable attention paid to the potential for cyber-attacks against the transmission grid.  Following a … Continue Reading

FERC and CFTC Launch Information Sharing MOU

Earlier this year, the CFTC and FERC announced an information sharing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two agencies. The agencies have now announced that they have begun sharing market data pursuant to this MOU.  In addition, they have created an Interagency Surveillance and Data Analytics Working Group “to coordinate information sharing between the agencies … Continue Reading

Regional Electricity Market Adopts Improved Design

On March 1, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), transitioned to a more sophisticated electricity market design that, according to SPP, is expected to realize up to $100 million in annual net benefits.  SPP is a FERC-regulated Regional Transmission Organization that administers the grid across a 370,000 square mile, nine-state footprint in the south central part … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Upholds FERC Order Approving PJM Tariff Targeting State Generation Capacity Subsidies

In the latest salvo in an ongoing controversy over state efforts to subsidize local generation capacity development, the Third Circuit in New Jersey Board of Public Utilities v. FERC upheld a final FERC order approving a PJM Interconnection tariff governing its wholesale capacity market.  The court denied appeals by the New Jersey and Maryland utility … Continue Reading

New England Market Price Suppression Complaint Withdrawn at FERC

An earlier post discussed a complaint by the New England Power Generators Association (NEPGA) arguing that the inclusion of a large, high-cost generating plant in an upcoming  capacity market auction will artificially suppress clearing prices. NEPGA has withdrawn its complaint because the generating plant’s owner has decided to retire it and, accordingly, the plant will … Continue Reading

New England Market Price Suppression Complaint Draws Mixed Comments at FERC

An earlier post discussed a complaint filed at FERC by the New England Power Generators Association (NEPGA) arguing that one of New England’s capacity market rules “will have a catastrophic impact on clearing prices” in the  upcoming February 3 capacity market auction.  NEPGA’s concern is that a large, high-cost generating plant will be counted toward … Continue Reading

FERC Proposes Rules to Protect Electric System From Geomagnetic Disturbances

FERC has proposed to approve new reliability rules to mitigate the effects of geomagnetic disturbances on the bulk power system.  Geomagnetic disturbances (GMD) are caused by solar events and result in distortions to the earth’s magnetic field.  These disturbances have the potential to cause the sudden collapse of the bulk power system. FERC oversees reliability … Continue Reading

New England Generators Complain: Market Rules Will Suppress Prices

One aspect of New England’s capacity market rules “will have a catastrophic impact on clearing prices” in an upcoming auction according to a recent complaint filed at FERC by the New England Power Generators Association (NEPGA). The auction-based wholesale electricity capacity market operated by ISO New England secures one-year commitments to supply electricity three years … Continue Reading

Director of FERC Enforcement Highlights Need for Jurisdictional Clarity and Improved Information Sharing with CFTC, Role of Financial Institutions in Physical Markets

Norman Bay, Director of FERC’s Office of Enforcement, testified yesterday before the Senate Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection regarding regulations for financial holding companies and physical commodities. In prepared remarks, Mr. Bay stated that FERC has the “tools necessary to effectively police FERC-regulated markets” but identified two regulatory limitations to its oversight efforts.  … Continue Reading

Entergy Integration Makes MISO Largest RTO by Geography

Entergy’s large transmission system and five operating companies in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and eastern Texas have been integrated into the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO).  This extends MISO’s footprint to 15 states from Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico, making MISO the largest Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) by geography.  The integration adds about 18,000 … Continue Reading

Law360 Names Covington “Energy Practice Group of the Year”

Here at Inside Energy & Environment we are honored to share that Law360 has named Covington’s energy practice as a 2013 “Energy Practice Group of the Year.”  In giving this award, Law360 recognized the breadth of Covington’s practice capabilities (including litigation, transactions, regulatory and government policy) in both the traditional energy and clean energy sectors, … Continue Reading

FERC and CFTC Enter into Long-Awaited MOUs in Response to Dodd-Frank Act

On January 2, 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) entered into two Memoranda of Understanding (the MOUs) to set forth procedures to address circumstances of overlapping jurisdiction (the Jurisdiction MOU) and to share information in connection with market surveillance and investigations into potential market manipulation, fraud or … Continue Reading

FERC and Idaho PUC Settle PURPA Lawsuit

On December 24, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (Idaho PUC) signed a Memorandum of Agreement addressing their dispute regarding interpretation and enforcement of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). PURPA requires that utilities purchase power from generators with certain renewable or other characteristics (called Qualifying Facilities, or … Continue Reading

Barclays Moves to Dismiss FERC Market Manipulation Suit

Barclays Bank and four of its traders (collectively, “Barclays”) moved on December 16, 2013 to dismiss charges of market manipulation brought by FERC’s Office of Enforcement.  FERC’s complaint seeks to affirm a combined $488 million in civil penalties and disgorgement in federal court for the Eastern District of California based on its claim that Barclays … Continue Reading

FERC Approves CAISO Rule Change Designed to Avoid “Over Generation” Problems

FERC recently approved the California ISO’s (CAISO) proposal to lower a bidding floor to more efficiently address a growing “over generation” problem due in part to increasing “variable energy” (i.e., typically renewable) resources.  A bit of background is needed to understand the problem and the solution. CAISO operates two bid-based energy spot markets to secure … Continue Reading
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