On November 23, 2018, the FERC After Action Panel (“FAAP”) issued a report (“FAAP Report”) providing an evaluation of the causes and recommendations to FERC after a spillway failure that took place at the Oroville Dam in February 2017.  According to the FAAP Report, issues with the Oroville Dam spillways have been ongoing since the project was commissioned in 1967, and there are shortcomings related to the implementation of FERC’s Part 12 dam safety regulations.  In light of its assessment, the FAAP provided FERC with recommendations for improvement of the Part 12 program. Continue Reading FERC Releases Oroville Spillway After Action Report

On December 3, 2018, FERC accepted ISO New England Inc.’s (“ISO-NE”) proposed temporary revisions to its Transmission, Markets and Services Tariff (“Tariff”) designed to address fuel security by a 2-1 vote.  Among other things, the order enables ISO-NE to enter into cost-of service agreements with certain retiring generators that are deemed necessary for regional fuel security and reliability.  Commissioner McIntyre did not participate and Commissioner Glick issued a separate concurring opinion.  Of particular note was the dissenting opinion filed by Chairman Neil Chatterjee. Continue Reading A Divided FERC Approves ISO-NE’s Proposal for Regional Fuel Security

On November 26, 2018, FERC partially granted the California Independent System Operator Corp. (“CAISO”) a temporary extension of two sets of tariff provisions concerning natural gas system limitations on CAISO’s system and corresponding market operations.  While FERC temporarily extended six tariff provisions related to the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility (“Aliso Canyon”) effective November 30, 2018, and December 16, 2018, as requested, it rejected CAISO’s proposal to temporarily extend the tariff revisions regarding gas price scalars. Continue Reading FERC Partially Grants CAISO Waiver of Aliso Canyon Related Tariff Provisions

On October 31, 2018, FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee submitted comments (“October 31 Comments”) on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) proposed rule, the Affordable Clean Energy rule (“ACE Rule”).  If approved, the ACE Rule would implement new regulations for states to develop plans to reduce Greenhouse Gas (“GHG”) emissions from certain existing Electric Utility Generating Units.  Chairman Chatterjee’s comments generally supported the ACE Rule. Continue Reading FERC Chairman Files Comments with EPA on Affordable Clean Energy Rule

On October 31, 2018, FERC approved three proposed revisions to the Open Access Transmission, Energy, and Operating Reserve Markets Tariff (“Tariff”) of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”).  These revisions establish categorical time limits to expressly bar settlement disputes submitted after these specified time periods (“Time Bar Revisions”).  The proposed Tariff revisions became effective November 1, 2018. Continue Reading FERC Conditionally Accepts MISO Tariff Revisions Establishing Time Limits to Settlement Disputes and Adjustments

On October 31, 2018, FERC denied a request from a group of wind generation developers (“Wind Generation Developers”) for rehearing of FERC’s order denying a complaint which alleged that the interconnection process under the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.’s (“MISO”) Open Access Transmission, Energy, and Operating Reserve Markets Tariff (“Tariff”) is unjust and unreasonable because certain wind generators would not receive a Generator Interconnection Agreement (“GIA”) in time to receive Federal Production Tax Credit (“PTC”) benefits.  Notably, FERC found that interconnection customers are not guaranteed that MISO will meet its projected deadlines and that most interconnection customers in the study cluster that was the subject of the complaint will be eligible for GIAs in time to receive PTC benefits. Continue Reading FERC Affirms Denial of Complaint Alleging MISO Interconnection Process Delays

On October 23, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) in Maine Council of the Atlantic Salmon Federation v. FERC rejected a challenge brought by several conservation groups (“Petitioners”) in response to a FERC order amending the licenses for three hydroelectric projects on Maine’s Kennebec River.  FERC’s order approved an an interim species protection plan for endangered Atlantic salmon and a handling and protection plan for shortnose and Atlantic sturgeon.  The Petitioners raised issues arising under the Endangered Species Act and claimed that FERC’s order violated the Kennebec Hydro Developers Group Agreement (“Kennebec Agreement”), of which the licensees are parties. Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Rejects Challenges to FERC Amendment of Hydro Project License

On October 18, 2018, in Order No. 850, the Commission approved new Critical Infrastructure Protection (“CIP”) Reliability Standards submitted by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) in response to the Commission’s directive in Order No. 829.  The new CIP Reliability Standards require responsible entities to take additional actions to address cybersecurity risks associated with the supply chain for Bulk Electric System (“BES”) Cyber Systems.  FERC directed NERC to submit modifications to the new CIP Reliability Standards within 24 months of the effective date of its order, which is 60 days after the order’s publication in the Federal Register. Continue Reading FERC Approves Supply Chain Risk Reliability Standards

On October 10, 2018, the U.S. Senate passed S. 3021, the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (“AWIA”), which contains several hydropower provisions that seek to amend the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) to promote hydropower development.  The Senate passed the AWIA by a 99-1 vote.  The AWIA was previously passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on September 14, 2018 and will now go to the President for his signature. Continue Reading Congress Includes Hydropower Provisions in Water Bill Sent to the White House