Author: Janina Quilacio

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The Energizer – Volume 47
2
The Energizer – Volume 45
3
CFTC Proposes Amendments to Swap Data Reporting Requirements
4
FERC Grants Waivers to Exempt Solar Aggregator from Certain QF Requirements
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The Energizer – Volume 43
6
The Energizer – Volume 42
7
Next Massachusetts Offshore Wind Solicitation Ready for DPU Review
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The Energizer – Volume 41
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The Energizer – Volume 40
10
Integrating Renewables and Storage: Key Issues

The Energizer – Volume 47

A biweekly update on blockchain technology applications, distributed energy resources, and other innovative technologies in the energy sector.

By: Buck B. Endemann, Benjamin L. Tejblum, Daniel S. Cohen, Toks A. Arowojolu, Olivia B. Mora, Abraham F. Johns

There is a lot of buzz around blockchain technology, distributed energy resources (“DERs”), microgrids, and other technological innovations in the energy industry. As these innovations develop, energy markets will undergo substantial changes to which consumer and industry participants alike will need to adapt and leverage. Every other week, K&L Gates’ The Energizer will highlight emerging issues or stories relating to the use of blockchain technology, DERs, and other innovations driving the energy industry forward. To subscribe to the Energizer, please click here.

IN THIS ISSUE

  • Puerto Rico Introduces “MiniGrids” to Improve Grid Resilience.
  • New Jersey Becomes the Latest State to Commit to 100% Clean Energy.
  • KEPCO to Lead a Blockchain-based Renewable Energy Certificates Trading Platform Pilot Program.
  • U.S. Department of Energy Assigns Energy Security Grant to XAGE.
  • PPL Electric Earns Award for its DER Management System.

To view more information on these topics in Volume 47 of The Energizer, click here.

The Energizer – Volume 45

A biweekly update on blockchain technology applications, distributed energy resources, and other innovative technologies in the energy sector.

By: Buck B. Endemann, Benjamin L. Tejblum, Daniel S. Cohen, Toks A. Arowojolu, Olivia B. Mora, Abraham F. Johns

There is a lot of buzz around blockchain technology, distributed energy resources (“DERs”), microgrids, and other technological innovations in the energy industry. As these innovations develop, energy markets will undergo substantial changes to which consumer and industry participants alike will need to adapt and leverage. Every other week, K&L Gates’ The Energizer will highlight emerging issues or stories relating to the use of blockchain technology, DERs, and other innovations driving the energy industry forward. To subscribe to the Energizer, please click here.

IN THIS ISSUE

  • CAISO Adds Flow Battery Technology to Grid.
  • ENGIE North America Acquires DER Startup Genbright, LLC.
  • FERC Denies Requests to Rehear Order 841.
  • NY Public Service Commission Continues Enhancing Distributed Energy Resources Mechanisms.
  • ABB and Evolvere Initiate Blockchain Pilot Program for Energy Sector.

To view more information on these topics in Volume 45 of The Energizer, click here.

CFTC Proposes Amendments to Swap Data Reporting Requirements

By: Lawrence B. Patent

Sellers under virtual power purchase agreements often agree to assume the duty to report the swap transactions contemplated by those agreements. Parties acting as reporting parties for Dodd-Frank purposes will be interested in the Roadmap to Achieve High Quality Swap Data (“Roadmap”) rulemakings currently under way at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”).

As part of the Roadmap proceedings, the CFTC recently published proposed amendments to its regulations governing swap data reporting requirements and swap data repositories (“SDR”). 84 Fed. Reg. 21044 (May 13, 2019). Among other changes, the proposals would require an SDR to distribute to each reporting counterparty on a regular basis an “open swaps report” detailing the swap data maintained by the SDR for all open swaps, organized by the unique identifier created for each swap. SDRs would be required to distribute the open swaps reports to non-swap dealer (“non-SD”) reporting counterparties, which would encompass most energy firms acting as a reporting counterparty, on a monthly basis, no later than the end of the day Eastern Time on the day of the month that the SDR chooses to regularly distribute the reports. The reporting counterparty would then be required to compare its books and records against the report to determine if the swap data that the SDR maintains is complete and accurate. A non-SD reporting counterparty would be required to submit either a verification of data accuracy or a notice of discrepancy within 96 hours of the SDR providing the open swaps report. This would be a change from the current regulatory framework that is based on the concept of negative affirmation, whereby reported swap data is presumed accurate and confirmed if a counterparty does not inform the SDR of errors or omissions or otherwise make modifications to a trade record within a specified time period under SDR rules.

If a notice of discrepancy were filed, the error or omission must be corrected within three business days of that notice filing. The current regulations require that an error or omission be corrected “as soon as technologically practicable” following discovery, but the proposals would reinforce that requirement with the three-business-day time frame. If that three-business-day time frame cannot be met, the reporting party would be required immediately to inform the Director of the CFTC’s Division of Market Oversight, or the Director’s designee, in writing, of such errors or omissions and provide an initial assessment of the scope of the errors or omissions and an initial remediation plan for their correction.

The requirements for correcting errors or omissions would apply to both swap data required by Part 45 of the CFTC’s regulations (creation and continuation data) and to swap transaction and pricing data required by Part 43 of the CFTC’s regulations. However, the open swaps report provision would only apply to the former, although the preamble of the notice announcing the proposed amendments specifically requests comment on whether that report should also cover swap transaction and pricing data.

The CFTC also states in the preamble that it expects that a reporting counterparty that repeatedly discovers errors or omissions, especially if they follow a pattern, would evaluate its reporting systems to discover and correct any issues. This would include working with the relevant SDR to address any reporting issues. The CFTC further notes that it may consider a reporting counterparty that fails to perform such an evaluation and improvement in light of repeated errors not to be in compliance with the regulations.

The proposed amendments, which are available here, are part of the CFTC’s Roadmap, and constitute the first of three anticipated Roadmap rulemakings. The comment period on these proposed amendments closes July 29, 2019. When the CFTC proposes the next two rulemakings, it anticipates re-opening the comment period for this first proposal to provide market participants with an opportunity to comment collectively on the three rulemakings together. The CFTC also anticipates that key provisions of each rulemaking would have the same compliance date, regardless of when each rulemaking is adopted in final form. The CFTC intends to provide a sufficient implementation period for these various rulemakings to give SDRs and market participants enough time to implement and test the changes that would be required.

FERC Grants Waivers to Exempt Solar Aggregator from Certain QF Requirements

By William M. Keyser and Toks A. Arowojolu

On April 18, 2019, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued an order granting a petition for declaratory order filed by Sunrun, Inc. (“Sunrun”) that exempted Sunrun, the nation’s largest residential solar company, from certain qualifying facility (“QF”) filing requirements under the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) and the Public Utilities Holding Company Act (“PUHCA”). The requested waiver would allow Sunrun to avoid significant administrative and regulatory burdens by avoiding potentially hundreds of QF filings as it increases the number of photovoltaic (“PV”) systems it owns on behalf of its customers.

QFs have the right to sell energy or capacity to a utility at an avoided cost rate and receive relief from certain regulatory burdens. To qualify as a QF, eligible facilities (including solar facilities) with power production capacity of greater than 1 MW (1000 kW) must certify their status with the Commission by either submitting a Form 556 self-certification or filing an application. Facilities with net power production of 1 MW or less are exempt from this filing requirement. When determining the size of a QF, FERC applies a “one-mile rule.” Under the “one-mile” rule, QFs located within a mile of another facility that use the same energy source and have the same owner are considered one QF for purposes of determining whether the QF surpasses the 80MW requirement for QF eligibility. FERC also applies the one-mile rule to determine whether a QF is 1 MW or less and therefore exempt from the QF certification filing requirement.

The one-mile rule carries potential consequences for developers of small and distributed rooftop solar systems like Sunrun, particularly when they retain ownership over the individual systems. According to the petition, Sunrun’s customers can choose to have Sunrun finance the PV system with Sunrun initially retaining ownership and continuing to monitor, maintain, and insure the system. Under Sunrun’s system, the homeowner is granted an option to buy the PV system later.

Sunrun filed its petition in September 2018 requesting waivers of two QF certification requirements to support its business model of selling, owning, and maintaining residential solar PV systems. First, Sunrun requested a waiver of the QF certification filing requirement for separately interconnected, individual residential rooftop solar PV systems with a maximum net power production of 20 kw or less that Sunrun provides financing for but which the homeowner has an option to purchase. Because Sunrun could conceivably finance or own many such 20 kW systems within one-mile radius, it would be possible for all such 20 kW systems to aggregate to over 1 MW and trigger QF certification filing requirement. Second, Sunrun also requested that, in a self-certification submitted for a cluster of rooftop PV systems that exceed 20 kW, FERC waive the requirement to include information for the facilities covered by the first waiver request (i.e., 20 kW or less).

Sunrun explained to FERC that its concerns were two fold: (1) while 99.5% of the residential PV systems that Sunrun owns have a nameplate capacity below 20kW, PV systems within close proximity to one another can collectively be deemed to be one QF under the one-mile rule, and (2) without the waivers, Sunrun would have to “monitor the geographic concentration of its PV systems” and file and continuously update a highly burdensome number of filings. With Sunrun’s 202,000 PV systems spread across 22 states, numerous applications would be expected.

FERC granted the requested waivers, finding that Sunrun’s request aligned with the purpose of the 1MW exemption which is “to ease the administrative burden for both the Commission and small scale QFs.” FERC also directed Sunrun to maintain sufficient records of the residential PV portfolio that it owns through “third-party financing arrangements” to ensure that its aggregated solar resources are in compliance with other federal regulations. FERC’s ruling could provide an opportunity for Sunrun and other rooftop solar aggregators to sell solar power into the wholesale markets. However, despite the easing of the administrative and regulatory burden at FERC, solar aggregators are still subject to a host of interconnection and state regulatory requirements that would also need to be addressed. We will continue to monitor the developments of this proceeding and its impacts on the solar PV and wholesale markets.

The Energizer – Volume 43

A biweekly update on blockchain technology applications, distributed energy resources, and other innovative technologies in the energy sector.

By: Buck B. Endemann, Benjamin L. Tejblum, Daniel S. Cohen, Toks A. Arowojolu, Olivia B. Mora, Abraham F. Johns

There is a lot of buzz around blockchain technology, distributed energy resources (“DERs”), microgrids, and other technological innovations in the energy industry. As these innovations develop, energy markets will undergo substantial changes to which consumer and industry participants alike will need to adapt and leverage. Every other week, K&L Gates’ The Energizer will highlight emerging issues or stories relating to the use of blockchain technology, DERs, and other innovations driving the energy industry forward.

To subscribe to The Energizer, please click here.

IN THIS ISSUE

  • Florida’s Biggest Utility Promises the World’s Largest Solar-Battery System by 2021.
  • China Considers Ban on Cryptocurrency Mining.
  • Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory Initiates Phase II of Electric Grid Security Project.
  • More Automobile Manufacturers Announce Plans to Develop Electric Vehicles Domestically.

To view more information on these topics in Volume 43 of The Energizer, click here.

Energy Storage Handbook (4.0)

  • In connection with the 19th Annual Energy Storage Association Annual Conference, K&L Gates published the revised 4th edition of its popular Energy Storage Handbook.
  • Among other topics, Version 4 of the Energy Storage Handbook covers the latest in the financing and solar + storage agreements; new developments in California and New York; new insurance products to mitigate performance risk; the RTO/ISO’s FERC Order 841 compliance filings; and FERC Order 845-A, clarifying and revising Order 845.

The Energizer – Volume 42

A biweekly update on blockchain technology applications, distributed energy resources, and other innovative technologies in the energy sector.

By: Buck B. Endemann, Benjamin L. Tejblum, Daniel S. Cohen, Toks A. Arowojolu, Olivia B. Mora, Abraham F. Johns

There is a lot of buzz around blockchain technology, distributed energy resources (“DERs”), microgrids, and other technological innovations in the energy industry. As these innovations develop, energy markets will undergo substantial changes to which consumer and industry participants alike will need to adapt and leverage. Every other week, K&L Gates’ The Energizer will highlight emerging issues or stories relating to the use of blockchain technology, DERs, and other innovations driving the energy industry forward.

To subscribe to The Energizer, please click here.

IN THIS ISSUE

  • Gazprom Develops Blockchain Platform Prototype.
  • Wien Energie Tests Blockchain for EV Charging Stations and Smart Fridges.
  • Federal Bill to Extend Tax Credits to Energy Storage Introduced.
  • Ameren and Opus One Solutions Announce New Blockchain Project.
  • Pilot Program Tests Blockchain to Improve Cybersecurity of Electricity Infrastructure.

To view more information on these topics in Volume 42 of The Energizer, click here.

Next Massachusetts Offshore Wind Solicitation Ready for DPU Review

By Elizabeth C. Crouse and Michael L. O’Neill

On March 27, 2019, Massachusetts’s three electric utilities submitted a draft of their second offshore wind request for proposals (“RFP”) to the state’s Department of Public Utilities (“DPU”) for review and comment. This second solicitation is a follow-up to the initial RFP under Section 83C of Massachusetts’s 2016 renewable energy mandate that directs its utilities to procure 1,600 megawatts (“MW”) of offshore wind nameplate capacity by June 2027.

The initial solicitation in 2017 resulted in the selection of the Vineyard Wind project to enter negotiations with the utilities. The utilities executed power purchase agreements (“PPAs”) totaling 800 MW of offshore wind capacity with Vineyard Wind. DPU is reviewing those PPAs currently. [1]

Even though DPU has not approved the PPAs for the initial solicitation yet, the utilities have moved forward with the second solicitation because Massachusetts law requires that the second solicitation be issued within 24 months of the first solicitation. The second solicitation contemplates procurement of at least 400 MW of offshore wind capacity, although the utilities will consider proposals ranging between 200-800 MW of capacity. According to this draft RFP, the utilities will consider a larger project proposal if it is “likely to produce more economic net benefits to customers based on the evaluation criteria in the RFP.”

Some of the key bidding requirements and evaluation criteria include:

  • Each bidder must be in possession of development rights for offshore wind generation in a designated federal wind energy area (not closer than 10 miles from an inhabited area) as leased after January 1, 2012;
  • Each bidder must submit at least one bid of a 400 MW project, or explain why it cannot, and can submit its projects in up to two phases;
  • Each bidder must propose a generator lead transmission line;
  • Each proposal for the energy generation and/or associated renewable energy certificates must be less than $84.23 per MW-hour on a nominal levelized basis as calculated based on the first solicitation; and
  • Proposals will be evaluated on direct contract prices and other costs and benefits, including:
    • Direct benefits of any applicable energy storage systems,
    • Impacts on Massachusetts’s greenhouse gas emission rates,
    • Specific investments in supply chain infrastructure, port facilities, workforce and the Offshore Wind Accelerator Fund, and
    • Demonstrated direct benefits to low-income ratepayers.

As proposed, the utilities plan to issue the RFP on May 17, 2019, and expect to receive confidential proposals by August 9, 2019 (with public redacted versions due by August 16, 2019). The utilities plan to select the winner(s) by November 8, 2019, and finalize the PPAs for DPU approval by January 10, 2020.

In comments on the second Section 83C solicitation, several wind developers raised concerns that a timeline that does not permit developers to demonstrate a construction start by the end of 2019 imperils the developers’ ability to qualify for the 12% federal investment tax credit (“ITC”). The production and investment tax credits are currently phasing out for wind, but wind projects that begin construction in accordance with IRS guidance in 2019 may still qualify for the credits at a reduced rate, specifically a 12% ITC or 40% of the maximum production tax credit rate applicable to electricity produced in a relevant year. Many of the commenters indicate that the 12% ITC is more valuable to their projects.

Although the utilities propose to select the winning bidder(s) before the end of 2019, the timeline in the solicitation does not suggest that the utilities and the winners will execute their PPAs and submit them for DPU approval by 2020. Any activity that the developers undertake to begin construction in 2019 based on the unapproved PPA may expose them to the risk that DPU will reject or modify the PPA after a developer has made some expenditures towards the project.

[1] See Offshore Wind Handbook, K&L GATES LLP AND SNC LAVALIN at 19 (2018), http://www.klgates.com/files/Upload/2018-08_OG_Offshore-Wind-brochure.pdf.

The Energizer – Volume 41

A biweekly update on blockchain technology applications, distributed energy resources, and other innovative technologies in the energy sector.

By: Buck B. Endemann, Benjamin L. Tejblum, Daniel S. Cohen, Toks A. Arowojolu, Olivia B. Mora, Abraham F. Johns

There is a lot of buzz around blockchain technology, distributed energy resources (“DERs”), microgrids, and other technological innovations in the energy industry. As these innovations develop, energy markets will undergo substantial changes to which consumer and industry participants alike will need to adapt and leverage. Every other week, K&L Gates’ The Energizer will highlight emerging issues or stories relating to the use of blockchain technology, DERs, and other innovations driving the energy industry forward.

To subscribe to The Energizer, please click here.

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • Ovo Invests in Electron’s Distributed Flexibility Marketplace; Saudi Aramco Launches Blockchain Pilot Program.
  • Puerto Rico Energy Commission Looks to Microgrids to Promote Electric Grid Resilience.
  • The Puerto Rico Energy Public Policy Act: 100% Renewable Energy Electric Grid by 2050

To view more information on these topics in Volume 41 of The Energizer, click here.

The Energizer – Volume 40

A biweekly update on blockchain technology applications, distributed energy resources, and other innovative technologies in the energy sector.

By: Buck B. Endemann, Benjamin L. Tejblum, Daniel S. Cohen, Toks A. Arowojolu, Olivia B. Mora, Abraham F. Johns

K&L Gates is pleased to announce that the Blockchain Energizer has returned from a period of rest and reflection! Recognizing the variety of important emerging technological innovations and structural changes affecting energy markets, we have decided to expand our focus beyond Blockchain to include distributed energy resources, microgrids, and other emerging energy trends — all the technological innovations driving toward a more efficient, more reliable energy system.

To reflect our broader scope, the Blockchain Energizer will be now known as The Energizer. We have expanded the team to include additional K&L Gates attorneys tracking these important developments. The Energizer will still be published about twice a month and the subscription is the same. We appreciate your support and have enjoyed hearing from the many readers who rely on the Energizer for a periodic dose of energy tech! We look forward to continuing to provide timely coverage of increasingly important developments.

To subscribe to The Energizer, please click here.

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • Growing Blockchain Interest in the Oil and Gas Industry.
  • California Mudslides Prompt Push for Montecito Community Microgrid Initiative.
  • New Rules in EV Charging in Pennsylvania.

To view more information on these topics in Volume 40 of The Energizer, click here.

Integrating Renewables and Storage: Key Issues

American Bar Association – Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources Telephonic Program Call

Register here.

As the importance of renewable energy in the power generation mix grows, there are an increasing number of contexts in which its deployment in conjunction with storage will enhance the number and character of services, the potential number of active parties, and the possibilities for enhancement of distributed energy applications. Major issues related to the exercise of federal and state jurisdiction under existing and proposed laws have arisen, which will be of increasing importance as the capabilities of storage technology management and the possibilities for its integration with renewable energy resources continues to accelerate. This program will highlight three key areas currently illustrative of this point: federal and state initiatives to encourage energy storage; RTO implementation of FERC order no. 841: energy storage development issues; the challenges and opportunities for utilities presented by energy storage integration.

Moderators:
Roger Feldman, Co-Chair, SEER Renewable, Alternative, and Distributed Energy Resources Committee
Aaron Levine, Co-Chair, SEER Renewable, Alternative, and Distributed Energy Resources Committee

Speakers:
Judy Chang, Principal, The Brattle Group
Joy Ditto, President and CEO, Utilities Technology Council (UTC)
Bill Holmes, Partner, K&L Gates

Sponsoring SEER Committees: the Renewable, Alternative, and Distributed Energy Resources Committee, the Energy Infrastructure, Siting, and Reliability Committee, the Energy Markets and Finance Committee, and the Science and Technology Committee

Register here!

You must pre-register to participate.

Registrants may include members of co-sponsoring Section Committees, other Section members, and others who are not currently Section members. Upon registration, you will receive more detailed information about the location and dial-in information.
This program will not offer CLE.

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