On April 9, 2018, PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) filed two alternative proposals to address supply-side state subsidies that, as PJM argues, could otherwise depress prices in PJM’s capacity market, the Reliability Pricing Model (“RPM”).  As presented by PJM, its “Capacity Repricing” proposal would establish a two-stage capacity market to accommodate subsidized resources, while the other proposal, the “MOPR-Ex proposal,” would expand PJM’s use of the Minimum Offer Price Rule (“MOPR”) to address subsidized resource entry.  With PJM’s filing, the issue of how to address out-of-market capacity market subsidies returns again to FERC exactly one month after a divided Commission approved a similar filing from the ISO New England Inc. (“ISO-NE”) (see March 20, 2018 edition of the WER). Continue Reading PJM Files Two Alternate Proposals to Address State-Subsidized Resources in Capacity Markets

On April 2, 2018, FERC denied a complaint alleging that the interconnection process under Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.’s (“MISO”) tariff was unjust and unreasonable because certain wind generators were experiencing delays in the process, such that those customers would not receive a Generator Interconnection Agreement (“GIA”) in time to receive Federal Production Tax Credit (“PTC”) benefits.  In doing so, FERC found that there was no evidence that MISO was not making reasonable efforts to meet interconnection deadlines, as required by its tariff.  FERC added that prior precedent does not require MISO to ensure wind generators receive their GIA in time to receive full PTC benefits. Continue Reading FERC Holds that MISO Interconnection Process Need Not Ensure that Interconnection Customers Receive PTC Benefits

On March 29, 2018, FERC issued an order accepting proposed modifications to the methodology used to evaluate the availability of resource adequacy (“RA”) resources and resulting charges and payments under the Resource Adequacy Availability Incentive Mechanism (“RAAIM”) administered by the California Independent Operator Corporation (“CAISO”).  In the order, FERC agreed that CAISO’s proposal addressed identified problems such as overweighting certain types of resource adequacy capacity and discouraging parties from providing other types of capacity. Continue Reading FERC Accepts Modifications to CAISO’s RAAIM Charges and Payment Methodology

On March 23, 2018, FERC accepted ISO New England Inc.’s (“ISO-NE”) filing to terminate a portion of the Capacity Supply Obligation (“CSO”) for a wind-powered electric generation facility (the “Disputed Portion”) owned by Blue Sky West, LLC (“Blue Sky West”).  Despite protests from Blue Sky West, FERC approved the requested termination, effective March 1, 2018. Continue Reading FERC Accepts ISO-NE Termination of Portion of Capacity Supply Obligation for Wind Generator; Clarifies Timing of ISO-NE Termination Provisions

On March 16, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) affirmed FERC’s (1) reduction in NorthWestern Corporation’s (“NorthWestern”) Schedule 3 regulation service rate by removing “regulation-down” capacity from the rate’s numerator and increasing the denominator to the full nameplate capacity of NorthWestern’s generating facility and (2) decision to order NorthWestern to refund customers the difference between NorthWestern’s proposed rate and FERC’s approved rate. Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Affirms FERC’s Modifications to NorthWestern’s Regulation Service Rate

On March 12, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (“Second Circuit”) held that the New York Department of Environmental Conversation (“NY DEC”) waived its authority to act on Millennium Pipeline Company, L.L.C.’s (“Millennium”) application for a Clean Water Act (“CWA”) section 401 water quality certification by not acting on the application within one year of receipt.  In doing so, the Second Circuit rejected the NY DEC’s argument that the one-year statutory deadline begins when a state agency deems the application complete, rather than when the application is received. Continue Reading Second Circuit Affirms FERC Ruling that NY DEC Waived Authority on CWA Permit for Pipeline Project

On March 13 and March 15, 2018, FERC took actions to address tax law changes resulting from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 for electricity, natural gas, and oil companies.  In addition, on March 15, 2018, in response to a federal court remand, FERC stated that master limited partnership (“MLP”) interstate natural gas and oil pipelines will no longer be allowed to receive an income tax allowance in cost of service rates. Continue Reading FERC Addresses Impact of Tax Cuts on Rates for Energy Companies and Eliminates Income Tax Allowance for Master Limited Partnerships

On March 8, 2018, President Donald Trump signed an order that enacts tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from all overseas countries, while exempting Canada and Mexico from such tariffs for now.  The proclamations signed by the President will institute a tariff of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum imports.  The tariffs are expected to become effective March 23, 2018. Continue Reading Trump Orders Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

On March 6, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) denied Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC’s (“Duke Energy”) petition for review of FERC’s grant of a forty-year license for the Catawba-Wateree Project (“Project”).  FERC had found that, despite Duke Energy’s requested fifty-year term for the license renewal, the measures required by FERC in issuing the license were only “moderate,” and thus warranted the forty-year term.  Duke Energy argued that FERC acted arbitrarily and capriciously by not granting the fifty-year license.  The D.C. Circuit deferred to FERC’s analysis in granting a forty-year license. Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Defers to FERC’s Qualitative Approach for Establishing Term for Hydroelectric Project Licenses

On March 7, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) granted FERC’s request to stay the issuance of a mandate that would have vacated FERC’s certificate order approving the Southeast Market Pipelines Project (“SMP Project”), a natural gas pipeline currently in service in the southeastern United States.  The D.C. Circuit’s order effectively avoids shutdown of the SMP Project while FERC finalizes its supplemental review of the project incorporating its revised environmental analysis.  As a result of the D.C. Circuit’s order, FERC now has until March 26, 2018 to issue a new order authorizing the project. Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Grants FERC Extra Time to Reissue Approval of SE Market Pipelines Project