On February 10, 2017, FERC issued a notice announcing a day-long technical conference to be held on Thursday, June 22, 2017. As stated in the notice, the purpose of the conference will be to discuss policy issues related to the reliability of the Bulk-Power System. The Commission has held similar technical conferences on policy issues related to reliability on an annual basis for the last few years (see February 8, 2016 edition of the WER).

An agenda has yet to be released. The conference is free and open to the public, but prospective attendees are encouraged to register online. March 3, 2017 is the deadline for prospective panel participants to submit their nominations through FERC’s online speaker registration form.

The notice announcing the technical conference can be found here.

 

On January 20, 2017, President Donald Trump asked the heads of executive departments and agencies temporarily to refrain from sending regulations to the Office of the Federal Register (“OFR”), withdraw regulations that have been sent to the OFR but have not yet published in the Federal Register, and postpone certain regulations that have been published in the Federal Register but have not taken effect.  In addition, on January 30, 2017, President Trump ordered executive departments and agencies to identify at least two existing regulations to be repealed for every new regulation proposed for notice and comment or otherwise promulgated (“January 30 Executive Order”).  In a guidance memorandum released February 2, 2017, the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) clarified, among other things, that the January 30 Executive Order does not apply to independent agencies such as FERC. Continue Reading President Trump Asks Agencies to Freeze Regulations, Orders Agencies to Repeal Two Regulations for Every New Regulation Promulgated

On February 1, 2017 FERC issued an order approving a settlement between its Office of Enforcement (“Enforcement”) and Houston-based power marketer GDF SUEZ Energy Marketing NA, Inc. (“GSEMNA”) following an investigation into whether GSEMNA violated FERC’s anti-manipulation regulations from May 2011 to September 2013. As part of the agreement, GSEMNA neither admitted to nor denied the alleged market manipulation violations, but agreed to be subject to monitoring and annual compliance reporting as well as to pay a disgorgement of $40.8 million in unjust profits and a civil penalty of $41 million to the U.S. Treasury. Continue Reading FERC and Power Marketer GSEMNA Reach $80 Million Enforcement Settlement over Alleged Market Manipulation

On January 24, 2017, FERC issued an order accepting simultaneous transmission import limit (“SIL”) values for the Southwest United States from a group of transmission owners operating in the region. In the Order, FERC noted its intent to use these SIL values in evaluating updated market power analyses for the Southwest region, and also provided guidance for future filers on how the Commission expects SIL studies to be performed and reported. Continue Reading FERC Issues Order Providing Direction on Simultaneous Transmission Import Limit Studies (“SILS”); Accepts Proposed SILS Values for Southwest Region

On January 19, 2017, FERC denied a request from Vote Solar Initiative and the Montana Environmental Information Center (collectively, “Vote Solar”) that FERC reconsider a November 1, 2016 order (“November Order”) dismissing Vote Solar’s complaint against the Montana Public Service Commission (“Montana Commission”), alleging that the Montana Commission violated section 210 of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (“PURPA”) by altering the state’s framework for solar projects seeking to be qualifying facilities (“QFs”). In requesting reconsideration, Vote Solar alleged that FERC misconstrued its complaint as being a request for enforcement pursuant to PURPA Section 210(h) and that it was instead a request for FERC to use its remedial authority under Federal Power Act (“FPA”) section 309. In denying the request, FERC explained that the broad language of its regulations does not give FERC greater enforcement authority than the operative statute itself. FERC also reiterated the jurisdiction and standing deficiencies inherent in the complaint, and noted that many of Vote Solar’s substantive concerns were addressed in a recently issued Notice of Intent Not to Act and Declaratory Order in a similar challenge brought by a QF against the Montana Commission. Continue Reading FERC Denies Request to Reconsider Denial of PURPA Complaint by Vote Solar

On January 19, 2017, FERC approved Reliability Standard BAL-002-2, Disturbance Control Standard—Contingency Reserve for Recovery from a Balancing Contingency Event, which is designed to “ensure that balancing authorities and reserve sharing groups balance resources and demand and return their Area Control Error to defined values following a Reportable Balancing Contingency Event.” In doing so, FERC also directed the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) to: (1) collect and report on data regarding additional energy losses following Reportable Balancing Contingency Events during the Contingency Reserve Restoration Period; and (2) study and report on reliability risks associated with energy losses above the most severe single contingency that do not cause energy emergencies. Continue Reading FERC Approves Disturbance Control Standard for Balancing Authorities and Reserve Sharing Groups

On January 3, 2017, FERC accepted the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.’s (“MISO”) proposed revisions to its Generator Interconnection Procedures (“GIP”) and its pro forma Generator Interconnection Agreement (“GIA”) contained in Attachment X of its Open Access Transmission, Energy and Operating Reserve Markets Tariff (“Tariff”). MISO’s revisions result from an extensive stakeholder process intended to improve the efficiency of its queue for generator interconnection projects. Continue Reading FERC Accepts MISO’s Revisions to Generator Interconnection Procedures

On December 15, 2016, FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) in which it proposed to revise its regulations and the pro forma Large Generator Interconnection Procedures (“LGIP”) and pro forma Large Generator Interconnection Agreement (“LGIA”). According to FERC, the proposed reforms could help “improve the efficiency of processing interconnection requests for both transmission providers and interconnection customers, maintain reliability, increase energy supply, balance the needs of interconnection customers and transmission owners, and remove barriers to needed resource development.” Comments on the proposed reforms in FERC’s NOPR are due 60 days after publication of the NOPR in the Federal Register. Continue Reading FERC Proposes Generator Interconnection Changes

On November 8, 2016, FERC approved the California Independent System Operator Corporation’s (“CAISO”) proposed tariff revisions intended to improve the effectiveness of its local market power mitigation procedures by reducing the frequency of instances where such procedures under-predict congestion. Going forward, CAISO will apply mitigation measures at real-time dispatch intervals. Continue Reading FERC Approves CAISO’s Revisions to Local Market Power Mitigation Procedures

On November 1, 2016, FERC rejected arguments raised by numerous intervenors (“Environmental Intervenors”) that FERC had too narrowly defined its jurisdiction over Trans-Pecos Pipeline, LLC’s (“Trans-Pecos”) Presidio Border Crossing Project (the “Project”) and interconnecting intrastate pipeline (the “Trans-Pecos Pipeline”), which resulted in an abbreviated environmental review that failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (“NEPA”). In doing so, FERC found that the Trans-Pecos Pipeline will be an intrastate pipeline receiving natural gas produced solely in Texas, and thus environmental review of the construction and operation of the pipeline is not subject to FERC’s Natural Gas Act (“NGA”) Section 7 jurisdiction. Continue Reading FERC Rejects Arguments that Environmental Review of Presidio Border Crossing Project Failed to Consider Related Intrastate Pipeline