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

This is the twenty-second in our series on “the ABCs of the AJP”

The single largest expenditure in President Biden’s original proposal for his American Jobs Plan is a $174 billion investment to promote electric vehicles (EVs).  This considerable sum reflects the fact that increasing the number of EVs on the road in the United States would advance a number of key administration priorities, as described below. Continue Reading Vying for America’s Future through Electric Vehicles

This is the twenty-first in our series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”

President Biden’s American Jobs Plan (AJP) sets an ambitious goal of “achieving 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2035.”  To accomplish this, the AJP proposes significant investments in grid modernizationtransmission infrastructureoffshore wind, and energy storage, as detailed by our prior posts.  Whether these investments – carrots, if you will – will be sufficient to drive down emissions in all states and achieve the 2035 target, in the absence of an enforceable clean electricity standard (CES), remains uncertain.  Equally uncertain is the pathway for Congress to enact a CES. Continue Reading Using Carrots and Sticks to Unleash the Potential for Clean Utilities

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

In a recent order, FERC pulled back, for now, its decision to sharply limit the ability of retail regulators to prohibit distributed energy resource (DER) aggregators from bidding retail customer demand response (DR) into wholesale markets.  Instead, the issue will be considered in  an ongoing inquiry that is addressing whether to totally eliminate the ability of retail regulators to keep retail DR resource offers out of FERC-jurisdictional wholesale markets. Continue Reading FERC Reconsidering Limits On Retail Regulator Control Over Aggregating Demand Response

This is the twentieth in our series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”

As discussed in an earlier post, the American Jobs Plan adopts an expansive definition of “infrastructure” to address systemic inequities and benefit society as a whole. However, the AJP also addresses what is typically called “core infrastructure” by proposing substantial investments to repair and modernize our nation’s roads, highways, bridges, airports, ports, and railways. As with other aspects of the AJP, the President’s investments seek to address climate and sustainability concerns and the creation of American jobs by, among other things, using sustainable and innovative building materials that are made in America. Continue Reading Tackling Transportation, Traffic, and Transit Troubles

This blog is the nineteenth in our series, “The ABC’s of the AJP.”

Increasing grid-scale energy storage in the United States is a critical part of infrastructure development.  President Biden’s American Jobs Plan (AJP) would place investments in energy storage at the center of his goals of achieving a net-zero electricity sector by 2035 and making the electricity grid more resilient.  These investments would also support the Administration’s efforts to secure an end-to-end domestic supply chain for high-capacity batteries and the critical minerals that go into them. Continue Reading Scaling Energy Storage Solutions and Securing Supply Chains

The European Commission is currently discussing a draft of a proposal for a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (“CBAM”) Regulation that it is expected to present on July 14, 2021.  A CBAM was already announced in the European Commission’s Communication for a Green Deal  and is intended to protect the EU’s domestic industry that is at risk of carbon leakage—to create a level playing field—and to serve as a policy tool to encourage third countries to reduce their greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions. Continue Reading Twelve Things to Know About the Upcoming EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism

This is the 18th in our series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”

In August 2020, a wildfire broke out along Route 70 in Glenwood Canyon, a major thoroughfare across the Rocky Mountains in central Colorado. The fire quickly burned through vegetation on either side of the canyon, loosing rocks that shut down Route 70 for two weeks. As the fire spread, it temporarily shuttered the Shoshone Generating Station, a hydroelectric power station that controls water flow in the upper Colorado River, and forced residents of several communities to evacuate to Glenwood Springs, a nearby town of 10,000. By the time the fire was put out in December, it had burned over 30,000 acres and cost over $30 million to contain. Continue Reading Readying for Resilience through Infrastructure

This post is the 17th in our series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”

President Biden’s American Jobs Plan (AJP) sends strong signals in support of carbon capture and sequestration as an important tool to achieve the President’s ambitious decarbonization objectives. Continue Reading Qualifying Carbon Capture and Storage under 45Q: How Biden’s Infrastructure Plan and Congressional Action May Provide a Realistic Role for CCS in Achieving Net Zero