On July 14, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) vacated in part the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“FERC”) orders approving a Joint Dispatch Agreement (“JDA”) between Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC (“Duke”) and Progress Energy Carolinas, Inc. (“Progress”).  Specifically, the D.C. Circuit found that FERC failed to articulate a satisfactory explanation for approving the provisions of the JDA that provide for disparate treatment of wholesale ratepayers.  As discussed below, the D.C. Circuit remanded the matter to FERC, directing it to reconsider the relevant JDA provisions and provide a reasoned explanation for its approval of the JDA.

Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Remands Duke-Progress Joint Dispatch Agreement for Disparate Treatment of Wholesale Ratepayers

On July 14, 2017, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division (“District Court”), issued a memorandum opinion and order dismissing various challenges to an Illinois “zero emission credit” (“ZEC”) program passed into law at the end of 2016 (“ZEC Program”).  After finding that the plaintiffs largely lacked standing to bring their claims, the District Court nonetheless reached the merits of, and rejected, the plaintiffs’ preemption, equal protection, and dormant commerce clause challenges to the ZEC Program.  Three days after its release, the ruling was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (“Seventh Circuit”). Continue Reading Federal District Court’s Standing Analysis and Dismissal of Illinois ZEC Challenges Heads to Court of Appeals

On July 14, 2017, the New York Independent System Operator, Inc. (“NYISO”) filed proposed revisions to its Market Administration and Control Area Services Tariff (“Tariff”) designed to: (i) enhance the rules governing the forecasts determined and used by the NYISO in the course of making determinations under its Buyer-Side Market Power Mitigation Measures for Installed Capacity (“BSM Rules”); and (ii) improve the rules governing the use of escalation factors and inflation rates under the BSM Rules (“July 14 Filing”).  NYISO requested that the revisions become effective September 12, 2017, and stated that this effective date would enable NYISO to apply the revised Tariff provisions when making its determinations under the BSM Rules for resources in Class Year 2017. Continue Reading NYISO Proposes Enhancements to Buyer-Side Mitigation Rules for Installed Capacity Market

On July 13, 2017, President Donald Trump announced his intention to nominate Kevin McIntyre of Virginia to serve as a FERC Commissioner for the term expiring June 30, 2018, and an additional term expiring June 30, 2023.  President Trump announced further that upon confirmation by the United States Senate, Mr. McIntyre will be designated Chairman of FERC.  According to the White House press release announcing the intended nomination, Mr. McIntyre has spent most of his nearly 30-year legal career in private practice. Continue Reading President Trump Intends to Nominate Kevin McIntyre as FERC Commissioner and Designate as Chairman

On July 13, 2017, FERC Office of Enforcement Staff issued a Notice of Alleged Violation against Rover Pipeline, LLC and Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (collectively, “Rover”) alleging that Rover, in its application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity (“Application”) and subsequent filings, did not disclose all relevant information regarding the avoidance of adverse effects to a certain historic resource.  In addition, on July 12, 2017, FERC Office of Energy Projects (“OEP”) Staff issued a letter listing the activities Rover must complete prior to receiving authorization to place its proposed pipeline into service. Continue Reading FERC Staff Issues Notice of Alleged Violation Against Rover Pipeline for Misstatements in Certificate Application

On July 7, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) vacated and remanded a set of FERC orders that revised the minimum offer price rule (“MOPR”) of PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”).  The D.C. Circuit held that FERC exceeded its role under Federal Power Act (“FPA”) Section 205 by imposing changes that amounted to an “entirely new rate scheme” for PJM. Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Rejects FERC’s use of FPA Section 205 to Revise PJM Minimum Offer Price Rule

On June 30, 2017, the North Carolina General Assembly ratified compromise legislation that modernizes the state’s solar energy rules but also includes an 18-month moratorium on wind energy projects in the state.  The bill now awaits Governor Roy Cooper’s signature or veto. Continue Reading North Carolina Passes Solar Reform Bill with an 18-Month Wind Moratorium

On June 30, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) denied a petition by Seminole Electric Cooperative, Inc. (“Seminole”) seeking to increase the refund amount FERC ordered Florida Power & Light Company (“FP&L”) to pay Seminole for overcharges related to energy imbalance services.  Seminole raised two challenges to FERC’s refund order: (1) FERC improperly restricted the refund period to twenty-four months, as opposed to the full four and a half year period for which FP&L overcharged Seminole for energy imbalance services; and (2) FERC failed to require that energy imbalance charges be apportioned among the three tiers established in Schedule 4 of FP&L’s Tariff. Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Rejects Seminole Electric Cooperative’s Appeal for Additional Refunds

On June 30, 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (“DOER”) informed the Massachusetts Legislature of its adoption of a 200 MWh energy storage target for electric distribution companies (“EDCs”) to procure “viable and cost-effective energy storage systems” within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  DOER specified that the target is to be achieved by January 1, 2020, and would permit EDCs to identify the most cost-effective applications and the best locations for energy storage deployment, including both in front of the meter and behind the meter applications. Continue Reading Massachusetts Announces 200 MWh Energy Storage Procurement Target

On June 28, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (“Second Circuit”) affirmed a district court’s dismissal of challenges to Connecticut’s renewable energy solicitation program and Renewable Portfolio Standard (“RPS”) law.  The Second Circuit rejected arguments from the plaintiff-appellant, Allco Finance Limited (“Allco”), that the solicitation program was preempted by the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) and the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (“PURPA”) and that the RPS law unduly burdens interstate commerce, in violation of the “dormant commerce clause.” Continue Reading Second Circuit Upholds Connecticut’s Renewables Solicitation Program and RPS Against Preemption, Dormant Commerce Clause Challenges