On October 6, 2017, FERC approved the New York Independent System Operator, Inc. (“NYISO”) and PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.’s (“PJM”; together with NYISO, “RTOs”) revisions to their Joint Operating Agreement (“JOA”), and NYISO’s revisions to its Market Administration and Control Area Services Tariff (“Tariff”), that address interchange schedule and Market-to-Market (“M2M”) coordination at the ABC and JK Interfaces on the border of northern New Jersey and southeastern New York.  Specifically, FERC found that the RTOs’ proposal to implement a wheeling arrangement over a newly formed PJM-NY AC Proxy Bus and to establish an Operational Base Flow (“OBF”) over the Interfaces was just and reasonable. Continue Reading FERC Approves Plan to Address Congestion Management Between NYISO and PJM

On October 6, 2017, FERC rejected the New England transmission owners’ (“NETOs”) amended compliance filing to reinstate their previous FERC-issued returns on equity (“ROE”), which were lowered due to a now-vacated FERC order.  FERC found that reinstating the original ROE would complicate the backdating process for which refunds or surcharges would be ordered and instead ordered the NETOs to continue collecting under their current, pending ROEs. Continue Reading FERC Denies ROE Change for New England Transmission Owners

On October 6, 2017, FERC rejected without prejudice Southwest Power Pool, Inc.’s (“SPP”) proposed tariff revisions and a cost sharing agreement related to two transmission projects with Associated Electric Cooperative (“AECI”), a rural electric cooperative that has member cooperatives in Missouri, Iowa, and Oklahoma, and City Utilities of Springfield, Missouri (“City Utilities”), a non-public utility that is a transmission-owning member of SPP.  AECI is not a member of SPP.  FERC found that SPP’s proposal did not allocate the costs of the proposed transmission projects to its beneficiaries in a “roughly commensurate” manner.  For this reason, FERC rejected SPP’s tariff revisions and cost sharing agreement without prejudice.  FERC’s action is notable in that cross-border projects have been few and far between in the post-Order No. 1000 world of transmission planning, and FERC might be expected to tout the success of its planning initiatives.  FERC nonetheless found the cost allocation proposals to have serious shortcomings.  Continue Reading FERC Rejects SPP’s Cost Allocation Plan for Two Interregional Transmission Projects

On October 6, 2017, FERC accepted a tariff filing from ISO New England Inc. (“ISO-NE”) proposing updated calculations for various Forward Capacity Market input values, including Cost of New Entry (“CONE”), Net CONE, and Offer Review Trigger Price (“ORTP”).  As part of its order, FERC also approved ISO-NE’s choice of a simple cycle gas turbine as the reference technology for establishing CONE and Net CONE values—thereby replacing the combined cycle natural gas turbine that had been used as a reference technology by ISO-NE since 2014. Continue Reading FERC Accepts ISO-NE’s Updated CONE and Other Forward Capacity Market Values

On October 4, 2017, FERC issued two separate orders clarifying its jurisdiction under sections 203 and 205 of the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) related to certain project development activities.  In Ad Hoc Renewable Energy Financing Group, FERC granted a petition for declaratory order and confirmed that certain tax equity interests in public utilities do not constitute “voting securities” for purposes of FPA section 203 and therefore do not require prior FERC approval.  Separately, in ALLETE, Inc., FERC disclaimed jurisdiction under FPA section 205 over certain pre-construction activities and thereby found that ALLETE, Inc. did not need to file three pre-construction agreements with the agency.  Continue Reading FERC Issues Orders Clarifying Jurisdiction Over Specific Project Development Activities

On September 28, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (“District Court”) dismissed the Adorers of the Blood of Christ’s (“Plaintiffs”) claims that FERC violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) by authorizing Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC (“Transco”) to take property owned by Plaintiffs to construct and operate its Atlantic Sunrise Project on Plaintiffs’ property.  In particular, the District Court held that (1) it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiffs’ action because U.S. Courts of Appeals have exclusive jurisdiction over FERC’s decisions and issues “inhering in the controversy” and (2) Plaintiffs could not collaterally attack FERC’s certificate order authorizing Transco to take Plaintiffs’ land after Plaintiffs failed to file objections at FERC.   Continue Reading District Court Dismisses Group’s Religious Freedom Claims Involving Pipeline Project

On October 3, 2017, FERC conditionally approved proposed revisions to the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”) and PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) Joint Operating Agreement (“JOA”) to create a new category of small interregional transmission projects, termed target market efficiency projects (“TMEPs”), intended to address congestion along both regional transmission organizations’ (“RTOs”) seams.  FERC approved the RTOs’ proposal, but required further revisions to ensure that the RTOs’ stakeholders receive adequate information regarding how each RTO evaluates proposed TMEP projects and determines their value as a solution to identified congestion points.  In a concurrent order released the same day, FERC approved MISO’s proposed plan for the assignment of TMEP costs within its region. Continue Reading FERC Conditionally Approves New Category of Interregional Transmission Projects Between MISO and PJM

On October 2, 2017, FERC issued notice of the September 29, 2017 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) from the United States Department of Energy (“DOE”) under section 403 of the Department of Energy Organization Act.  In the NOPR, DOE urges FERC to act quickly to enact rules requiring regional transmission organizations and independent system operators (“RTOs/ISOs”) to provide just and reasonable rates for “fuel-secure” generation units (see October 2, 2017 edition of the WER).  Shortly thereafter, on October 4, FERC staff issued a Request for Information, listing various questions for commenters to address in aiding the Commission to better understand the NOPR’s implications.  Commenting parties have until October 23, 2017 to file initial comments and until November 7, 2017 to file reply comments.  In recent testimony before the Senate’s Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, FERC General Counsel, James Danly, confirmed that FERC intends to review the comments and take final action within 60 days of the NOPR’s publication, as requested by the DOE. Continue Reading FERC Sets Comment Deadline and Poses Questions for Commenters on DOE Proposed Rule

On September 27, 2017, FERC Staff issued a draft supplemental environmental impact statement (“EIS”) for the Southeast Market Pipelines Project (“SMP Project”) in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s (“D.C. Circuit”) decision in Sierra Club v. FERC, which directed FERC to supplement its final EIS by estimating the downstream incremental greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the SMP Project and explaining whether it considers the “Social Cost of Carbon” tool useful for National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) purposes.  In the draft supplemental EIS, FERC Staff (1) estimated the downstream incremental greenhouse gas emissions in Florida resulting from the project, and affirmed its conclusion in the final EIS that the SMP Project, with certain mitigation measures, will not result in significant adverse effects on the environment, and (2) explained that it does not find the “Social Cost of Carbon” tool useful for project-level NEPA analyses. Continue Reading FERC Staff Updates EIS for Pipeline Project to Address Downstream Greenhouse Gas Emissions

On September 27, 2017, FERC issued an order granting a request from the New York Independent System Operator, Inc. (“NYISO”) to waive certain sections of its Market Administration and Control Area Services Tariff (“Tariff”) as they pertain to particular transmission shortage cost provisions.  NYISO submitted the waiver request in January 2017 to allow time to correct certain discrepancies with its Tariff and software used to resolve transmission constraints.  Continue Reading FERC Grants NYISO Waiver Request on Transmission Shortage Cost Provisions While NYISO Resolves Inconsistencies