Tag: FERC

1
FERC Seeks Additional Comments on Proposed Primary Frequency Response Requirements for Electric Storage and Small Generating Facilities
2
FERC Welcomes New Commissioners, Quorum Restored
3
Trade Group Complains that PJM’s Frequency Regulation System Unduly Discriminates Against Energy Storage Resources
4
FERC to Discuss Interaction Between Competitive Wholesale Energy Markets and State Energy Policies
5
CAISO Urges Flexibility and Coordination to Advance Distributed Energy Resource Aggregations at FERC
6
FERC Issues Order to Delegate Further Authority to Staff in Absence of Quorum
7
FERC Issues Policy Statement on Cost Recovery for Electric Storage Resources, But the Devil Will Be in the “Implementation Details”
8
FERC Issues Notice of Inquiry on Income Tax Allowance Policy Statement and ROE Methodology
9
FERC Proposes Reforms to Large Generator Interconnection Procedures and Agreements
10
FERC Proposes New Rules to Make Room for Storage in Wholesale Electricity Markets

FERC Seeks Additional Comments on Proposed Primary Frequency Response Requirements for Electric Storage and Small Generating Facilities

By Molly Suda, William M. Keyser, and Elizabeth P. Trinkle

In one of its first orders since regaining a quorum, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued a Notice of Request for Supplemental Comments (“Notice”) on August 18, 2017, seeking comments related to circumstances where electric storage resources should be required to provide primary frequency response and the costs associated with primary frequency response capabilities for small generating facilities.

The Notice builds off of comments received in response to FERC’s November 17, 2016 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”). Along with a number of other proposals, the NOPR proposed to modify the pro forma Large Generator Interconnection Agreement and the pro forma Small Generator Interconnection Agreement to require all new large and small generating facilities, both synchronous and non-synchronous, to install, maintain, and operate equipment capable of providing primary frequency response as a condition of interconnection. The NOPR also proposed including minimum operating requirements for droop and deadband parameters and requirements to ensure timely and sustained responses to frequency deviations.

The NOPR did not include provisions specific to electric storage resources, and several commenters noted that by failing to address electric storage resources’ unique technical attributes, the NOPR requirements could pose an unduly discriminatory burden on such resources. In response to these concerns, FERC seeks additional information to better understand (1) the performance characteristics and limitations of electric storage resources; (2) potential ramifications to electric storage resources from the proposed primary frequency response requirements; and (3) what changes are needed to address the issues raised by stakeholders. While the Notice sets forth a number of specific questions for commenters to address, in general, the Notice seeks comments on operational limitations or challenges and potential adverse effects if electric storage resources are required to provide primary frequency response. The Notice also seeks comments on whether there are reasonable parameters or requirements that could apply to electric storage resources’ provision of primary frequency response.

In response to the NOPR, commenters also suggested a need to further investigate the costs for small generating facilities to install frequency response capability and argued that the proposed requirement would impose disproportionate costs on small generating facilities. Accordingly, to further assess small generating facilities’ ability and cost to comply with the proposed primary frequency response requirement, the Notice seeks comment on:

  • The differences in costs to install, maintain and operate governor or equivalent controls for small generating facilities versus large generating facilities;
  • Whether recent technological advances in primary frequency response capability minimize or eliminate barriers to entry for small generating facilities; and
  • Whether an exemption is appropriate for all or a subset of small generating facilities based on disproportionate cost impacts.

Developers, owners, and operators of electric storage resources and small generating facilities should consider whether the proposed primary frequency response requirements materially affect the cost, operation, and/or feasibility of projects to be developed. The Notice offers interested stakeholders an additional opportunity to shape FERC’s interconnection policy to avoid barriers to the integration of electric storage resources and small generating facilities and ensure any unique features of these technologies are addressed in future rules. The invitation for additional comments suggests that FERC may be interested in building a record to support different treatment or rules for energy storage resources and smaller distributed energy resources compared to traditional generation. Comments are due 21 days after publication of the Notice in the Federal Register.

FERC Welcomes New Commissioners, Quorum Restored

By David L. Wochner, Sandra E. Safro, William M. Keyser, Molly Suda, Michael L. O’Neill, Jennifer L. Bruneau, Benjamin L. Tejblum, Elizabeth P. Trinkle and Gillian R. Giannetti

On August 3, 2017, the U.S. Senate confirmed President Trump’s nominations of Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson as Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Commissioners and restored FERC’s quorum for the first time in nearly 180 days. The next step is for Mr. Chatterjee and Mr. Powelson to be sworn into their positions.

FERC has not had a quorum since February 3, 2017. In the interim, the Commission has accumulated a backlog of filings that will require formal Commission action, including

  • Applications under Section 4 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) related to the rates and terms and conditions of service;
  • Applications related to interstate natural gas pipeline infrastructure under Section 7 of the NGA;
  • Applications related to the rates and terms and conditions of service for interstate oil and products pipelines under the Interstate Commerce Act;
  • Applications related to rates, rules, or charges for the transmission or wholesale sale of electric energy under the Federal Power Act;
  • Complaints challenging rates, rules, or charges for the transmission or wholesale sale of electric energy under the Federal Power Act; and
  • Petitions for declaratory orders seeking clarification from the Commission.

With FERC’s quorum restored, it also can move forward with rulemaking proceedings, including notices of proposed rulemaking that were issued before February 2017, as well as formal investigations and enforcement actions that require Commission authorization. It is unclear at this point how FERC will process and prioritize this backlog and how long it will take before the Commission is able to process filings on more traditional timeframes.

FERC does not hold a formal Commission meeting in August, but the Commissioners can vote notationally and therefore could begin issuing orders in the near term.

Below is a brief biography of FERC’s newest members.

Neil Chatterjee

Mr. Chatterjee most recently served as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’s senior energy policy analyst. While in this position, Mr. Chatterjee advised Senator McConnell on energy and infrastructure initiatives, including President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. Mr. Chatterjee worked previously as a Principal in Government Relations for the National Rural Cooperative Association and as an aide to House Republican Conference chairman Deborah Pryce (R-OH). Mr. Chatterjee grew up in Lexington, Kentucky near the heart of the coal industry. He earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Lawrence University in New York and a law degree from the University of Cincinnati. Mr. Chatterjee’s term expires on June 30, 2021.

Robert Powelson

Mr. Powelson has extensive regulatory experience, having served as a Commissioner at the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) and as President of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. Mr. Powelson has served on numerous academic boards, including Drexel University’s Board of Trustees and Lincoln University’s Board of Directors. Prior to his position on the Pennsylvania PUC, Mr. Powelson worked as Chief Executive Officer and President of the Chester County, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry. He earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s University and a master’s in government administration from the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Powelson’s term expires on June 30, 2020.

In addition, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has scheduled a hearing for President Trump’s two other nominees, Richard Glick and Kevin McIntyre, for September 7, 2017, at 10 a.m. If approved by the Committee, Mr. Glick and Mr. McIntyre will then be ready to be scheduled for full Senate confirmation. Below is a brief biography for both nominees.

Richard Glick

Before President Trump nominated him for FERC, Mr. Glick served as General Counsel for the Democrats on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Previously, Mr. Glick served as an energy and wind power lobbyist and advised U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Bill Richardson during the Clinton Administration. Mr. Glick earned his bachelor’s degree from The George Washington University and his law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center. If confirmed, Mr. Glick’s term would expire on June 30, 2022.

Kevin McIntyre

Mr. McIntyre is well-known among industry professionals, having served as co-head of Jones Day’s energy practice. While in private practice, Mr. McIntyre focused on government regulation of energy markets, electric and natural gas utilities, oil and natural gas pipelines, and co-authored several treatises on energy practice. Mr. McIntyre is actively involved in the Energy Bar Association, having served as on its Charitable Foundation’s Board of Directors. He also has served on the advisory board of Georgetown University Law Center’s Corporate Counsel Institute. Mr. McIntyre earned his bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University and his law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center. If confirmed, Mr. McIntyre’s term would expire on June 30, 2018. The White House press release announcing Mr. McIntyre’s nomination also states the White House’s intention to seek an additional term for Mr. McIntyre, to expire on June 30, 2023.

Trade Group Complains that PJM’s Frequency Regulation System Unduly Discriminates Against Energy Storage Resources

By William M. Keyser, Molly Suda, and Michael L. O’Neill                     

The Energy Storage Association (ESA) filed a complaint with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) alleging that PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (PJM) has adjusted its system operations to unduly discriminate against certain market participants.  ESA argues that PJM changed the rules of its frequency regulation market, without prior FERC approval, and that those rule changes unduly discriminate against limited energy resource participants, such as energy storage providers.

FERC has set May 15, 2017, as the deadline for parties to comment, intervene, or protest ESA’s complaint.  Commenting and/or intervention are important procedural tools that allow interested parties to protect and advocate for their interests.  Given the potentially broad impact of this complaint on PJM’s energy and frequency regulation market design, numerous entities may seek to participate in this proceeding.  K&L Gates will continue to follow this proceeding closely.

To read the full alert on K&L Gates HUB, click here.

FERC to Discuss Interaction Between Competitive Wholesale Energy Markets and State Energy Policies

By Molly Suda and William M. Keyser

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) has scheduled a technical conference on May 1 and 2 to discuss and obtain input on the interaction between competitive wholesale markets and state energy policies. In recent years, several states that are part of organized wholesale energy markets have adopted legislation or policies to support or promote certain generation resources or resource types.  As a result of these state policy initiatives, FERC has been forced to grapple with questions about state versus federal jurisdiction and the effect of the state policies on competition and prices in the organized wholesale energy markets. The technical conference offers an open forum to discuss potential solutions and find ways to reconcile states’ interests with interests in preserving the benefits of regional competitive wholesale markets.     Read More

CAISO Urges Flexibility and Coordination to Advance Distributed Energy Resource Aggregations at FERC

By Buck B. Endemann, William M. Keyser, and Molly Suda

Introduction

As previously covered by this blog, on November 17, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) to remove barriers so that electric storage resources and distributed energy resource aggregations can better participate in the capacity, energy, and ancillary services markets operated by Regional Transmission organizations (“RTOs”) and independent system operators (“ISOs”).  This post will focus on the response to those proposals submitted by the California Independent System Operator (“CAISO”), particularly as they relate to distributed energy resource aggregations.

FERC defines distributed energy resource aggregators as entities that aggregate one or more distributed energy resources, such as electric storage resources, distributed generation, thermal storage, and electric vehicles (collectively, “DERs”), and offer those resources into wholesale markets.  The NOPR called for comments on what types of market rules should be established to provide DERs with more certainty and to remove barriers to entry.

The California Independent System Operator (“CAISO”) is one of the largest ISOs in the nation, responsible for managing about 80 percent of California’s electricity flow.  Having recently received FERC approval of its own DER aggregation participation model, CAISO has a head start on incorporating DER aggregations into its energy and ancillary services markets.[1]  In fact, in a statement issued concurrently with the NOPR, Acting FERC Chairman Cheryl LaFleur specifically identified CAISO’s DER aggregation rules as a model to study and evaluate any lessons learned from CAISO’s implementation of those rules.

CAISO submitted its comments on FERC’s proposal on February 13, 2017.  With its recent experience in developing a DER program, CAISO’s comments offer insights that may guide FERC as it works toward a final rule.[2]  Overall, CAISO’s comments strongly support incorporating DER aggregations into the nation’s energy and ancillary services markets, so long as each RTO/ISO is given the flexibility to develop participation models that reflect regional and regulatory preferences in generation, transmission, and distribution assets.  CAISO also predicts that the roles and responsibilities of transmission and distribution operators will experience significant change in the coming years, and that FERC, electric grid operators, and market participants can best encourage innovation and resiliency by avoiding any overly-prescriptive models that stifle DER participation.[3]

Read More

FERC Issues Order to Delegate Further Authority to Staff in Absence of Quorum

By Sandra Safro, William Keyser, and Molly Suda

On February 3, 2017, FERC issued an Order Delegating Further Authority to Staff in Absence of Quorum, which provides for further delegations to enable FERC to continue to carry out various obligations under the Natural Gas Act (NGA), Federal Power Act (FPA), and Interstate Commerce Act (ICA).  In pertinent part, the delegation order states the following:

  • Delegations Generally.
    • The delegations of authority are effective during the Delegation Period, which starts on February 4, 2017, and continues until 14 days after the date on which a quorum is reestablished.
    • Delegations are made to the relevant office director, who may further delegate to his or her designee.
  • Pre-Existing Delegations. All pre-existing delegations of authority by the Commission to its staff remain effective, including the Secretary’s authority to toll the time for action on rehearing requests (also referred to as tolling orders)and the authority of the Director of Office of Energy Market Regulation (OEMR) authority to accept uncontested tariff or rate schedules that would result in rate increases.
  • Continuation of Activities Related to Safety.  Limited Commission operations can continue, including inspecting and responding to incidents at LNG facilities and jurisdictional hydropower projects, and other activities involving the safety of human life or protection of property.
  • Further Delegations Regarding Rate Proceedings. 
    • With respect to contested rate and other filings under Section 4 of the NGA, Section 205 of the FPA, and Section 6(3) of the ICA, the Director of OEMR shall have authority to:
      • Accept and suspend filings and make them effective, subject to refund and further Commission order; or
      • Accept and suspend filings and make them effective, subject to refund, and to set them for hearing or settlement judge procedures.
    • With respect to initial rates or rate decreases under Section 205 of the FPA where suspension and refund protection is not available, Commission Staff may institute a proceeding to protect customer interests pursuant to Section 206 of the FPA.
    • The Director of OEMR may accept uncontested settlements.
  • Further Delegation Regarding Uncontested Requests for Waivers.  The Director of OEMR may take appropriate action on uncontested filings seeking waivers of the terms and conditions of tariffs, rate schedules, and service agreements (including requests for waiver of capacity release and capacity market rules) made under Section 4 of the NGA, Section 205 of the FPA, and Section 6(3) of the ICA.
  • Further Delegation Regarding Extensions of Time.  Commission Staff may extend the time for action on matters where extension is permitted by statute, including extensions of a 180-day period for applications for prior approval under Section 203 of the FPA.

FERC’s order is intended to prevent filings made to the Commission from going into effect by operation of law after a certain period of time as defined by statute. However, it also creates uncertainty, because any contested rate filings approved by Staff and allowed to go into effect will be subject to refund and further review by a Commission having up to three new members once a quorum is reached.  It also may result in more filings being set for hearing and settlement judge proceedings, including potentially all initial rate filings that are contested.

FERC Issues Policy Statement on Cost Recovery for Electric Storage Resources, But the Devil Will Be in the “Implementation Details”

By Molly K. Suda, William H. Holmes, and Buck B. Endemann

Last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or the “Commission”) issued a Policy Statement to provide guidance for electric storage resource owners and operators that may seek to receive cost-based rate recovery for certain services, as well as market-based revenues for other services.[1]  The Policy Statement explains that an electric storage resource may provide transmission or grid support services at a cost-based rate, while also participating in the wholesale energy markets administered by a regional transmission organization (“RTO”) or independent system operator (“ISO”) and earning market-based revenues.  As described below, the Policy Statement eliminates some uncertainty created by prior FERC precedent, which limited electric storage resources’ ability simultaneously to provide transmission or grid support services at cost-based rates and also participate in the wholesale markets.

However, the path forward for electric storage resources to “stack” payment streams and recover costs through both cost-based and market-based rates will not be without obstacles.  The Policy Statement acknowledges that “implementation details” will need to be addressed.  Additionally, FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur dissented, disagreeing with the Policy Statement’s broad statements that electric storage resources’ ability to recovery costs through both cost-based and market-based rates will not adversely impact other market competitors.  Commissioner LaFleur also disagreed with the decision to address the issue of electric storage resources’ ability to recover costs through both cost-based and market-based rates in a proceeding separate from the pending Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on electric storage’s participation in RTO/ISO markets (“Electric Storage NOPR”).[2]  Thus, while the Policy Statement removes some uncertainty, electric storage resources will likely still have to grapple with cost recovery, competition, and other issues on a case-by-case basis.

This alert provides background on the Commission’s prior precedent related to electric storage resources and cost-based recovery, as well as the Commission’s recent efforts in several open proceedings to address potential barriers to the further development of electric storage resources.  Provided below is a summary of the Commission’s Policy Statement, as well as an overview of open questions and unresolved issues that are intertwined with issues presented in the Commission’s Electric Storage NOPR and other recent orders.

Read More

FERC Issues Notice of Inquiry on Income Tax Allowance Policy Statement and ROE Methodology

By William M. Keyser, Sandra E. Safro, Michael L. O’Neill, and Benjamin L. Tejblum

On December 15, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) seeking comment on how to address any double recovery resulting from income tax allowance policy set forth in its Income Tax Allowance Policy Statement and current policies regarding the derivation of return on equity (ROE).  FERC’s existing Income Tax Allowance Policy Statement has been in place since 2005 and permits an income tax allowance for partnerships, or similar pass-through entities, to the extent that partners or members have actual or potential income tax obligations on the partnership entity’s income.

The NOI stems from the July 1, 2016 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (DC Circuit) in United Airlines Inc. v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 827 F.3d 122 (D.C. Cir. 2016) (UAL v. FERC).  In that decision, the DC Circuit held that FERC had not adequately demonstrated that the application of its Income Tax Allowance Policy Statement in combination with its use of a discounted cash flow (DCF) methodology to determine ROE does not result in double recovery of taxes for a pipeline organized as a partnership.  The DC Circuit remanded the issue to FERC to develop a mechanism “for which the Commission can demonstrate that there is no double recovery” of partnership income tax costs.  Among the potential options that the DC Circuit outlined was eliminating all income tax allowances and setting rates based on pre-tax returns.  The NOI explicitly notes “the potentially significant and widespread effect of [the decision in UAL v. FERC] upon the oil pipelines, natural gas pipelines, and electric utilities subject to the Commission’s regulation.”  NOI at P 2.

Read More

FERC Proposes Reforms to Large Generator Interconnection Procedures and Agreements

By William M. Keyser and Elizabeth P. Trinkle

On December 15, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) to revise Parts 35 and 37 of its regulations, as well as the pro forma Large Generator Interconnection Procedures (“LGIP”) and pro forma Large Generator Interconnection Agreement (“LGIA”).  The proposed reforms are designed to improve certainty, promote more informed interconnection, and enhance interconnection processes.

The pro forma LGIP and LGIA establish the terms and conditions by which public utilities subject to the Federal Power Act must provide interconnection service to Large Generating Facilities.  FERC defines “Large Generating Facilities” as facilities with generating capacity greater than 20 MW.  While FERC has previously undertaken steps to reduce undue discrimination in the generator interconnection process, interconnection customers have continued to express concerns regarding inefficiencies and discriminatory practices.  Moreover, FERC proposes that recent changes to the resource mix, the emergence of new technologies, changes to state and federal policies, and challenges with the interconnection study process warrant reforms.  Based, in part, on input received from stakeholders following a 2015 technical conference on these issues, the NOPR identifies reforms to benefit both interconnection customers through timely and cost-effective interconnection and transmission providers by mitigating the potential for re-studies associated with late-stage interconnection request withdrawals.

Specifically, FERC proposes reforms that focus on improving aspects of the pro forma LGIP and LGIA, the pro forma Open Access Transmission Tariff, and the Commission’s regulations.  These reforms fall into three broad categories:  (1) reforms intended to improve certainty in the interconnection process; (2) reforms intended to improve transparency by providing more information to interconnection customers; and (3) reforms intended to enhance interconnection processes.  FERC requests comment from interested stakeholders on specific issues related to development and implementation of each of the proposals within these three broad areas of reform.  An overview of FERC’s proposals and request for comment on each area of reform are summarized below.

Comments on the NOPR will be due 60 days from publication in the Federal Register.  A copy of the NOPR is available here.

Read More

FERC Proposes New Rules to Make Room for Storage in Wholesale Electricity Markets

By Molly Suda and Elizabeth Trinkle

On November 17, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) to amend Section 35.28 of its regulations.  The proposed amendment would remove barriers to the participation by electric storage resources and distributed energy resource aggregations in the capacity, energy, and ancillary service markets operated by regional transmission organizations (“RTOs”) and independent system operators (“ISOs”).  FERC defines “electric storages resources” as resources capable of receiving electric energy from the from the grid and storing it for later injection back to the grid regardless of where the resource is located on the electrical system.  Electric storage resources include all types of electric storage technologies, such as batteries, flywheel, compressed air and hydro-pump.  “Distributed energy resource aggregators” are defined as entities that aggregate one or more distributed energy resources (including electric storage resources, distributed generation, thermal storage and electric vehicles) for participation in the RTO/ISO wholesale markets.

Specifically, FERC proposes in the NOPR that each RTO and ISO revise its tariff to (1) establish market rules that accommodate the participation of electric storage resources in the organized wholesale electric markets and (2) define distributed energy resource aggregators as a type of market participant that can transact in the organized wholesale electric markets.

The NOPR includes a number of high-level proposals, and FERC requests comment from interested stakeholders on specific issues related to development and implementation of these proposals.  An overview of the NOPR and FERC’s key areas of interest for comment are summarized below.

Comments on the NOPR will be due 60 days from publication in the Federal Register.  A copy of the NOPR is available here.

Read More

Copyright © 2019, K&L Gates LLP. All Rights Reserved.