On March 6, 2019, FERC denied GridLiance GP, LLC’s (“GridLiance”) proposal (“Proposed Transaction”) to acquire from People’s Electric Cooperative certain transmission lines and related facilities (“Assets”).  In its order, FERC concluded that GridLiance failed to demonstrate that the benefits of its ownership of the facilities would offset the rate increases that GridLiance acknowledged would result from the Proposed Transaction.  However, because FERC denied the proposal without prejudice, GridLiance can make a new filing that, according to FERC “proposes adequate ratepayer protection and demonstrates specific additional benefits to offset a rate increase.”

Continue Reading FERC Issues Rare Denial of Proposed Transmission Line Acquisition

On February 21, 2019, FERC issued a Final Rule, Order No. 856, amending its regulations related to interlocking officers and directors in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) issued on July 18, 2018 to revise Parts 45 and 46 of its regulations (see July 24, 2018 edition of the WER).

Continue Reading FERC Amends Its Interlocking Officers and Directors Regulations

On February 22, 2019, FERC issued a final rule (“Order No. 857”) conforming FERC’s regulations to the America’s Water Infrastructure Act (“AWIA”), which amended sections of the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) pertaining to preliminary permits, qualifying conduit hydropower facilities, and start for payment of annual charges.  Continue Reading FERC Finalizes Rule Implementing AWIA Hydro Project Reforms

On February 8, 2019, FERC approved nine revisions to the New York Independent System Operator, Inc. (“NYISO”) Tariff addressing its Public Policy Transmission Planning Process.  While the changes mainly provide additional process and transparency to NYISO’s existing procedures, NYISO also removed the requirement that the New York Public Service Commission (“New York Commission”) issue an order confirming the transmission need before NYISO can move forward with its planning process. Continue Reading FERC Approves Changes to NYISO Transmission Planning Process

On February 5, 2019, in an unpublished summary order, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit (“2nd Circuit”) overturned the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (“New York DEC”) denial of a water quality certification for National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation’s (“National Fuel”) Northern Access Pipeline Project and remanded it back to the state for further explanation. Continue Reading 2nd Circuit Vacates New York’s Denial of Water Quality Certification for Gas Pipeline

On January 31, 2019, Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur announced that she is no longer seeking a third term and will be leaving FERC this year.  Commissioner LaFleur stated that she plans to stay at least until her current term expires, on June 30, 2019, and may stay longer depending on her plans and the appointment of her successor. Continue Reading Commissioner LaFleur Will Not Pursue Another Term

On January 31, 2019, pursuant to Public Law No. 115-270, the America’s Water Infrastructure Act (“AWIA”), FERC issued a notice soliciting comments on proposed rules to establish expedited licensing processes for qualifying projects at existing nonpowered dams and closed-loop pumped storage facilities. Continue Reading FERC Issues Notice on Proposed Hydropower Rules

On January 17, 2019, FERC denied requests for rehearing of its prior order to revoke Boyce Hydro Power, LLC’s (“Boyce Hydro”) license for its 4.8 MW Edenville Project No. 10808 (“Edenville Project”), which consists of a 6,600-foot-long dam in Michigan.  Boyce Hydro and the Sanford Lake Preservation Association (“Sanford Lake”) (together, the “Petitioners”) raised several claims in their requests for rehearing, including that FERC discounted the efforts Boyce Hydro took to remedy safety issues at the dam.  Continue Reading FERC Denies Rehearing of Order Revoking Hydro Project License

On January 18, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) denied a petition by the State of North Carolina to review two FERC orders involving the relicensing of the Yadkin River Hydroelectric Project (“Yadkin Project”) in North Carolina.  The D.C. Circuit found substantial evidence supporting FERC’s decision to deny North Carolina’s allegations of misrepresentation by Alcoa Power Generating, Inc. (“Alcoa”), the license applicant, and to grant a new operating license to Alcoa for the Yadkin Project.  The court also rejected North Carolina’s proposal to invoke the federal recapture provision of the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) to the state at Alcoa’s net investment plus severance damages. Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Denies Review of FERC Orders in Hydro Project Relicensing