Tag: Regional Transmission Organizations

1
CAISO Urges Flexibility and Coordination to Advance Distributed Energy Resource Aggregations at FERC
2
CFTC Proposes to Permit Private Rights of Action Against RTOs and ISOs and Persons Transacting Thereon
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FERC Issues Staff White Paper on Guidance Principles for Clean Power Plan Modeling; Suggests Stakeholder Engagement to Consider Reliability Issues

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]

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CFTC Proposes to Permit Private Rights of Action Against RTOs and ISOs and Persons Transacting Thereon

By Lawrence Patent

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has proposed to amend its previous Order exempting specified electric energy transactions from certain provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations and to permit a private right of action against regional transmission organizations (RTOs) and independent system operators (ISOs) and persons transacting thereon for alleged fraud and manipulation.  81 Fed. Reg. 30245 (May 16, 2016).  The CFTC stated that it did not intend in the original RTO/ISO Order, issued in 2013 (78 Fed. Reg. 19880 (April 2, 2013)), to grant exemption from the private right of action provided in CEA Section 22, but the Fifth Circuit held that this was the effect of the RTO/ISO Order in Aspire Commodities, L.P. v. GDF Suez Energy N.Am., Inc., No. 15-20125, 2016 WL 758689 (5th Cir. Feb. 25, 2016).  Therefore, were the CFTC to adopt the amendment to the RTO/ISO Order, it would in effect be overruling Aspire.  The types of transactions covered by the RTO/ISO Order include financial transmission rights, energy transactions, forward capacity transactions, and reserve or regulation transactions, and the RTO/ISO Order applies to any person or class of persons offering, entering into, rendering advice, or rendering other services with respect to these transactions.

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FERC Issues Staff White Paper on Guidance Principles for Clean Power Plan Modeling; Suggests Stakeholder Engagement to Consider Reliability Issues

On January 19, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued a Staff White Paper[1] outlining four guiding principles to assist transmission planning entities – including regional transmission organizations (“RTOs”), independent system operators (“ISOs”) and electric utilities – in analyzing the Clean Power Plan (“CPP”) promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”).[2]  The CPP requires each state to demonstrate that it has considered electric system reliability issues in developing its state emissions reduction plan.  The EPA explained that one particularly effective way for states to make such a demonstration is by consulting with the relevant RTO, ISO, or other transmission planning entities and documenting this consultation process in their state plans.

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