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On June 20, 2019, FERC approved revisions to the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.’s (“MISO”) Tariff which permit MISO to share, without notice to its market participants, confidential information with federal cybersecurity authorities in response to detected cyber intrusions or weaknesses in electric utility infrastructure that have the potential to compromise reliability and call for immediate action.  FERC concluded that MISO’s proposal allows for greater information sharing with the appropriate federal agencies before a potential cybersecurity threat becomes an emergency, and appropriately maintains the confidentiality of the information at issue.
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On June 7, 2019, Judge Dennis Montali of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Northern District of California San Francisco Division found that FERC’s finding that it had concurrent jurisdiction with the U.S. bankruptcy court over wholesale power agreements was “unenforceable in bankruptcy court and of no force on the parties before it.” Judge Montali further noted that if necessary, the U.S. bankruptcy court will “enjoin FERC from perpetuating its attempt to exercise power it wholly lacks.” At issue, on review by the bankruptcy court, was whether, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2201, the bankruptcy court has exclusive jurisdiction over Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s and Pacific Gas & Electric Corporation’s (collectively “Debtors”) right to reject a power purchase agreement (“PPA”) under Section 365 of the Bankruptcy Code, and whether FERC has concurrent jurisdiction to grant or deny PG&E’s rejection of any PPAs.

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On May 23, 2019, FERC issued a 10-year pilot license to the Igiugig Village Council (“Igiugig Village”) to construct, operate, and maintain its 70-kilowatt hydrokinetic project located on the Kvichak River near the town of Igiugig, Alaska (“Igiugig Project”).  The Igiugig Project will enable to Igiugig Village to test new hydrokinetic technology to power the Igiugig Village.
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On May 21, 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) announced that its Hydroelectric Production Incentive Program is offering $6.6 million in new funding for projects that would add hydropower generating capabilities to existing dams throughout the U.S.  Qualified facilities will be selected for funding based on the number of kilowatt hours generated in calendar year 2018.
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On May 14, 2019, FERC granted in part, and denied in part, United Illuminating Company’s (“United Illuminating”) request for approval of three transmission rate incentives for investments in the Pequonnock Substation Project (“Project”).  United Illuminating asked FERC to approve three transmission incentives: (i) a 50-basis point return on equity (“ROE”), (ii) an Abandoned Plant Incentive, and (iii) a Construction Work in Progress (“CWIP”) Incentive.  United Illuminating also requested waivers of several of FERC’s regulatory requirements, including the requirements related to anti-competitive impacts of CWIP recovery and the requirement to file Statement BM under section 35.13(h)(38) of the Commission’s regulations.   In the May 14 Order, FERC granted United Illuminating’s requested Abandoned Plant and CWIP Incentives and its waiver requests, but denied the requested ROE Incentive adder.

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On May 16, 2019, FERC issued four orders on related complaints against the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”) by Tilton Energy LLC (“Tilton”), American Municipal Power, Inc. (“AMP”), and Dynegy Marketing and Trade, LLC/Illinois Power Marketing Company (“Dynegy Companies” or “Dynegy”), as well as a complaint against PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) by AMP and the Northern Illinois Municipal Power Agency (“NIMPA”).  The complaints alleged that MISO’s and PJM’s assessment of congestion and other costs for resources physically located in MISO but pseudo-tied into PJM violated MISO’s and PJM’s Tariffs by imposing duplicative charges.  The complaints also alleged that MISO and PJM subjected the complainants to unjust and unreasonable duplicative congestion charges.  FERC’s orders denied arguments that MISO’s and PJM’s assessment of congestion and other charges violated their respective Tariffs, but found that MISO and PJM may have assessed duplicative congestion charges prior to FERC’s acceptance of revisions to the MISO-PJM Joint Operating Agreement (“JOA”) to address such charges beginning in July 2018.  After consolidating the proceedings, FERC’s orders established hearing and settlement procedures to determine appropriate refunds.
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On May 3, 2018, FERC accepted revisions proposed by PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) to its Open Access Transmission Tariff, Amended and Restated Operating Agreement, and Reliability Assurance Agreement Among Load Serving Entities in the PJM Region, to reflect load reductions from Summer-period Demand Response resources in load forecasts for PJM’s capacity market (“Peak Shaving Adjustment”).
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On May 6, 2019, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (“Oregon DEQ”) denied a water quality certification under section 401 of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) for the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) export terminal and its feeder pipeline, the Pacific Connector, to be located on Oregon’s southern coast.
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Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) released an update (“2018 Update”) to its 2017 U.S. Hydropower Market Report (“2017 Report”).  The 2018 Update provides a status report on the U.S. hydropower industry as of the end of 2018, and includes publicly available data and information on existing U.S. hydropower facilities, including trends on capacity, generation, and new investment.
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