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 29, 2017, United States Department of Energy (“DOE”) Secretary Rick Perry took the unusual step of proposing a rule for final action by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”).  Secretary Perry’s initiative, a DOE-issued Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) under section 403 of the Department of Energy Organization Act (“DOE Act”) (42 U.S.C. § 7173), urges FERC to act extremely 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 (e.g., coal and nuclear units).  See Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule, Docket No. RM17-3-000, at 4–5 (Sept. 29, 2017) (“DOE NOPR”).  Continue Reading Department of Energy Proposes FERC-Authorized Full Cost Recovery for Certain Nuclear and Coal Power Generation

On September 20, 2017, FERC issued two final rules and a notice of proposed rulemaking (“NOPR”) on reliability standards for the bulk power system. The final rules—Order Nos. 836 and 837—will become effective sixty days after their publication in the Federal Register.  Parties interested in filing comments on matters discussed in the NOPR must do so within sixty days of when that notice is published in the Federal Register. Continue Reading FERC Issues Final Rules and NOPR to Enhance Bulk Electric System Resilience, Reliability

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 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 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

On June 8, 2017, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) released a report on the August 2016 Blue Cut Fire, which resulted in the loss of 1,200 megawatts (“MW”) of solar photovoltaic (“PV”) power generation.  NERC’s report contains recommendations for avoiding similar incidents by reconfiguring solar inverters, the devices that convert solar energy from direct current to alternating current. Continue Reading NERC Recommends Inverter Changes After California Fire Disrupts Solar Generation

On February 21, 2017, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) submitted its annual risk-based Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program (“CMEP”) report to FERC. In the report, NERC reviewed the CMEP’s progress for 2016 and proposed two enhancements to improve the program’s efficiencies and effectiveness. Specifically, NERC proposed (1) discontinuing the requirement that registered entities publicly-post their noncompliance logs and (2) expanding the use of Compliance Exceptions (“CEs”) to include certain moderate-risk noncompliance issues. NERC asserted that the proposed enhancements would allow the CMEP to better target higher-risk issues that can impact the reliability of the bulk power system. Continue Reading NERC Submits Annual Monitoring and Enforcement Report; Proposes Enhancements to Self-Logging and CE Programs

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 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