On February 28, 2017 FERC Staff released their Energy Infrastructure Update for January 2017. In these monthly reports, Staff provides updates on various projects in the natural gas, hydropower, electricity generation, and electricity transmission sectors. Continue Reading FERC Staff Issues Energy Infrastructure Update for January 2017

On March 2, 2017, the U.S. Senate voted 62-37 to confirm Rick Perry as the Secretary of the Department of Energy (“DOE”). Secretary Perry will succeed Dr. Ernest Moniz. Prior to his confirmation as Secretary of the DOE, Secretary Perry was Governor of Texas from December 2000 to January 2015, qualifying as the longest-serving governor in Texas history.

After being sworn in, Secretary Perry stated, “It is an honor and privilege to serve as the Secretary of the [DOE]. As Secretary, I will advocate and promote American energy in all forms.”

A record of the vote on Secretary Perry’s confirmation is available here. The DOE’s press release on the swearing in of Secretary Perry is available here.

On February 24, 2017, President Donald Trump issued a Presidential Executive Order on Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda (“Executive Order”) which requires the heads of agencies to designate an agency official as the “Regulatory Reform Officer” within 60 days, and establish “Regulatory Reform Task Forces.” The objective of each Regulatory Reform Task Force will be to “evaluate existing regulations and make recommendations to the agency head regarding their repeal, replacement, or modification, consistent with applicable law.” Continue Reading President Trump Orders Agencies to Create “Regulatory Reform Task Forces”

On February 21, 2017, FERC’s Acting Chairman, Cheryl LaFleur, announced the appointment of Judge Clark S. Cheney as a FERC Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”).

Judge Cheney previously served as an ALJ with the Social Security Administration. Prior to working at the Social Security Administration, Judge Cheney was an attorney adviser and Acting Assistant General Counsel at the U.S. International Trade Commission. Judge Cheney has also worked in private practice during his career, where he advised on intellectual property and other legal matters.

In welcoming Judge Cheney, Acting Chairman LaFleur stated that Judge Cheney’s “extensive experience will benefit [FERC] and the public.”

A copy of the press release is available here.

ISO New England, Inc. (“ISO New England”) has published its 2017 Regional Electricity Outlook, an annual report intended to keep stakeholders informed about issues affecting the grid and the ISO’s actions to ensure a modern, reliable power system for New England. The report includes an address from each of ISO New England’s Board Chair and its Chief Executive Officer. Both addresses warn against the threat that inadequate supply of natural gas to fuel generators poses to the ISO New England transmission system’s reliability. Additionally, the report examines the challenge of balancing competitive markets with state environmental policies. The report also provides performance metrics and updates on ISO New England’s initiatives related to cyber security, stakeholder processes, and compliance with the standards and directives issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, and the Northeast Power Coordinating Council.

ISO New England’s 2017 Regional Electricity Outlook can be found here.

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 15, 2017, the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) Board authorized more than $1.5 billion in electric transmission projects in the PJM-region as part of the Regional Transmission Enhancement Plan process. According to PJM President and CEO Andy Ott, the current round of project approvals addresses “the growing need to replace aging infrastructure, energy efficiency, and the resulting reduction in the growth of demand for electricity.” Both the list of approved projects and the proposed cost allocation for each project will be the subject of future filings with FERC.

Continue Reading PJM Board Authorizes $1.5 Billion in Transmission Projects

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.

 

Since Commissioner Norman Bay’s departure from FERC on February 3, 2017 created the absence of the requisite three-Commissioner quorum necessary for the Commission to vote (see January 31, 2017 edition of the WER), FERC Staff has continued to act on certain pending matters under the authority delegated to it by the Commission on February 3, 2017 (see February 3, 2017 Troutman Sanders Alert). Continue Reading FERC Staff Acting Under Delegated Authority in the Absence of Three-Commissioner Quorum

On February 3, 2017, FERC accepted Southwest Power Pool, Inc’s. (“SPP”) proposal to modify its Open Access Transmission Tariff (“Tariff”) to permit combined cycle resources to register as Multi-Configuration Resources (“MCR”) in its Integrated Marketplace. FERC accepted the modifications subject to SPP submitting a compliance filing to provide further clarification and refinement to address certain areas of ambiguity in SPP’s proposed tariff language.

Continue Reading FERC Accepts SPP’s Tariff Modifications to Implement Multi-Configuration Resources in Integrated Marketplace