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 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 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 July 23, 2017, the Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (“SPP”) Board of Directors and Members Committee voted to authorize SPP President and Chief Executive Officer Nick Brown to terminate the Regional Delegation Agreement (“RDA”) between SPP and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”), which would effectively dissolve the SPP Regional Entity (“SPP RE”)—an independent and functionally separate division of SPP.  The SPP RE Trustees approved a resolution on July 24, 2017, endorsing the decision.

Continue Reading SPP to Dissolve its Regional Entity Function by December 31, 2018

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 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 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

On June 21, 2017, the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (“Sixth Circuit”) upheld FERC’s determination that American Transmission Systems (“ATS”) and Duke Energy Ohio, Inc. (“Duke”) are not required to pay for projects that the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”) approved after ATS and Duke announced separately that they would be withdrawing from MISO, but prior to their actual departures.

Continue Reading Sixth Circuit Holds that Departing Transmission Owners are Not Responsible for MISO Multi-Value Project Costs

On June 20, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit” or “the court”) rejected petitions for review challenging FERC’s approval of capacity market rules set by the PJM Interconnection, LLC (“PJM”) in 2014.  The D.C. Circuit held that FERC’s approval of the rules was adequately explained and within its statutory authority under the Federal Power Act.  In particular, the D.C. Circuit rejected assertions from various environmental, clean energy, and public utility petitioners that the new capacity market rules unduly discriminated against variable energy resources. Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Rejects Challenges to PJM’s Capacity Market Rules, Including Year-Round Requirement Impacting Renewable Energy Generators