On September 15, 2017, FERC issued an order determining that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (“NY DEC”) failure to act on Millennium Pipeline Co. LLC’s (“Millennium”) Clean Water Act (“CWA”) permit application before the statutory one-year deadline resulted in a waiver of its authority to issue the permit.  FERC’s decision has the effect of nullifying the NY DEC’s prior denial of Millennium’s permit application.  FERC’s order also allows Millennium to move forward with its “Valley Lateral Project” without the NY DEC’s water quality permit.   Continue Reading FERC Rules that NY DEC Waived Authority on Water Quality Permit for Pipeline Project

On September 14, 2017, the Subcommittee on Energy of the United States House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing on defining reliability in a transforming electricity industry.  During the hearing, committee members raised concerns about reliability and grid transformation in the face of cybersecurity threats and extreme weather.  FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee testified at the hearing that FERC would continue its role in ensuring “world-class reliability” during this grid transformation.  Continue Reading FERC Chairman Addresses Reliability in House Testimony

On September 8, 2017, FERC rejected an unexecuted amendment to an interconnection service agreement (“Agreement”), which PJM Interconnection, LLC (“PJM”) filed on behalf of Hudson Transmission Partners, LLC (“HTP”). The amended Agreement sought to allow HTP to convert 320 MW of Firm Transmission Withdrawal Rights to Non-Firm Transmission Withdrawal Rights—a conversion opposed by another party to the Agreement, Public Service Electric and Gas Company (“PSEG”), due to its alleged potential impact on PJM’s pending Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (“RTEP”) cost allocation proceedings.  Along with its rejection of the amended Agreement, FERC initiated a Federal Power Act (“FPA”) section 206 proceeding into whether the Agreement, and PSEG’s withholding of consent for the conversion, unjustly and unreasonably restrict HTP’s ability to convert its Firm Transmission Withdrawal Rights. Continue Reading FERC Commences Look into Proposed Conversion of PJM Transmission Withdrawal Rights

On September 7, 2017, FERC accepted an Implementation Agreement between the California Independent System Operator Corporation (“CAISO”) and Powerex Corp. (“Powerex”), setting forth the terms under which CAISO will work toward Powerex’s participation in CAISO’s Energy Imbalance Market (“EIM”). Continue Reading FERC Accepts Implementation for Powerex Participation in Western Imbalance Market

On September 7, 2017, FERC rejected, without prejudice, Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.’s (“MISO”) proposed tariff revisions regarding its generator interconnection process.  FERC found that MISO did not provide sufficient support in its filing to demonstrate that the reductions for its study procedures timeline are just and reasonable. Continue Reading FERC Rejects Revisions to MISO’s Generator Interconnection Review Process Due to Lack of Justification

On September 1, 2017, FERC rejected without prejudice the California Independent System Operator Corporation’s (“CAISO”) April 18, 2017 proposal to revise the CAISO Tariff to create a new class of participating transmission owner (“PTO”) called the “Certified Small PTO,” whose low-voltage, generator-interconnection-driven network upgrade costs would be allocated regionally, rather than locally. Continue Reading FERC Rejects CAISO Tariff Amendments Creating New Class of Participating Transmission Owner

On September 7, 2017, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (“Committee”) held a hearing to consider the nominations of Kevin McIntyre and Richard Glick—President Trump’s final nominees for FERC Commissioner.  Mr. McIntyre and Mr. Glick, who were joined by two nominees also being considered for Department of Interior positions, fielded questions from Committee members but largely avoided opining on matters currently pending at FERC.  Knowing that FERC only just recently reestablished the required quorum to resume regular business (see August 11, 2017 edition of the WER), Committee Chairman Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) stated that she was eager to advance the FERC nominees to the full Senate for confirmation. Continue Reading Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Holds Hearing to Consider FERC Nominees

On August 10, 2017, Robert Powelson was officially sworn-in as a FERC Commissioner, restoring the three-Commissioner quorum necessary for FERC to resume regular business and vote on matters before it.  Commissioner Powelson joins Commissioner Neil Chatterjee, who was sworn in on August 8, 2017, and Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur.  On the same day as Commissioner Powelson’s swearing-in, President Trump named Commissioner Chatterjee to be Chairman until one of the remaining FERC Commissioner nominees, Kevin McIntyre, is confirmed by the Senate and sworn in. Continue Reading FERC Quorum Restored Following the Swearing-in of Commissioner Powelson; Commissioner Chatterjee Named Interim Chairman

On the evening of August 3, 2017, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously to confirm Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson, two of President Donald Trump’s nominees to join Acting Chairman Cheryl LaFleur as FERC Commissioners.  Once Chatterjee and Powelson are officially sworn in at the Commission, the quorum that has been lacking since former Chairman Norman Bay resigned earlier this year will be restored, enabling the Commission to vote on matters before it.  On September 7, 2017, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources also is scheduled to consider the nominations of Richard Glick and Kevin McIntyre—the final two nominees for the five-member Commission whose names the White House sent to the Senate in August. Continue Reading FERC Quorum Soon to Be Restored as Senate Confirms Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson to Serve as Commissioners

On July 25, 2017, two weeks after an Illinois federal judge issued a similar ruling, the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York (“District Court”) issued an order dismissing challenges to a New York state “zero emission credit” (“ZEC”) program established by the New York Public Service Commission (“NYPSC”).  As with the Illinois court’s decision regarding the Illinois ZEC program (see July 25, 2017 edition of the WER), the District Court found the New York ZEC program constitutional and determined that the challengers lacked a private right of action to challenge the New York ZEC program on preemption and dormant commerce clause grounds.  Nevertheless, the District Court reached, and rejected, the merits of those challenges. On August 24, 2017 the case was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  Continue Reading Federal District Court Dismisses Challenges to New York ZEC Program