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
In December, 2016, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) released its 2016 Long-Term Reliability Assessment (“LTRA”). Among its key findings, NERC projected that the capacity reserve margin—the primary metric used to measure resource adequacy—would fall below its target level in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”) region, and could also fall below its target level in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (“ERCOT”) region, depending on the outcome of certain pending regulatory proceedings. NERC also made a number of recommendations designed to address identified reliability issues. Continue Reading NERC Publishes 2016 Long-Term Reliability Assessment, Warns of Shortages in MISO and ERCOT
On October 3, 2016, FERC denied La Paloma Generating Company, LLC’s (“La Paloma”) complaint (“Complaint”) requesting that FERC order the California Independent System Operator Corporation (“CAISO”) to designate the portion of La Paloma’s generating capacity that is not currently designated as resource adequacy capacity as reliability must-run (“RMR”) units.
On September 22, 2016, the Commission approved Reliability Standard TPL-007-1 (Transmission System Planned Performance for Geomagnetic Disturbance Events), which establishes for the first time mandatory requirements for Transmission Owners and other entities to assess the vulnerability of transmission systems to geomagnetic disturbance events (“GMDs”), which occur when the sun ejects charged particles that cause changes in the earth’s magnetic fields. The Standard requires that entities who do not meet certain performance requirements, based on the results of their vulnerability assessments, develop a plan to achieve those performance requirements. The Commission also affirmed that recovery for prudent costs to comply with TPL-007-1, including for the purchase and installation of monitoring devices, will be available to registered entities. Continue Reading FERC Approves Transmission GMD Reliability Standard
On July 21, 2016, in Order No. 829, FERC directed the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) to develop a new or modified Critical Infrastructure Protection (“CIP”) Reliability Standard that addresses supply chain risk management for industrial control system hardware, software, and computing and networking services associated with Bulk Electric System operations. FERC directed NERC to submit the new or modified Reliability Standard within one year of the effective date of the order, which is 60 days after the order’s publication in the Federal Register. Continue Reading FERC Directs NERC to Develop Reliability Standard for Supply Chain Cyber Controls
On May 19, 2016, FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in which it proposed to approve Reliability Standard BAL-002-2, Disturbance Control Standard—Contingency Reserve for Recovery from a Balancing Contingency Event (“May 19 NOPR”). In the May 19 NOPR, FERC described BAL-002-2 as designed to ensure that Registered Entities “are able to recover from system contingencies by deploying adequate reserves to return their Area Control Error to defined values and by replacing the capacity and energy lost due to generation or transmission equipment outages.” FERC also proposed in the May 19 NOPR to direct the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) to: (i) modify BAL-002-2 to address concerns related to the possible extension or delay of the periods for Area Control Error recovery and contingency reserve restoration; and (ii) address a reliability “gap” associated with NERC’s proposed definition of “Reportable Balancing Contingency Event.” Continue Reading FERC Issues NOPR on Disturbance Control Reliability Standard