On November 3, 2017, FERC largely denied rehearing requests from a group of generation developers (“Generation Developers”) regarding the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.’s (“MISO”) revisions to its Generator Interconnection Procedures (“GIP”) and its pro forma Generator Interconnection Agreement (“GIA”).  With the exception of one issue, FERC otherwise rejected the Generation Developers requests that FERC reconsider prior MISO revisions regarding the efficiency and timeliness of MISO’s generator interconnection queue process contained in Attachment X of its Open Access Transmission, Energy and Operating Reserve Markets Tariff (“Tariff”). Continue Reading FERC Largely Denies Rehearing Request to Change Existing MISO Generator Interconnection Procedures

On November 3, 2017, FERC largely denied rehearing requests from a group of generation developers (“Generation Developers”) regarding the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.’s (“MISO”) revisions to its Generator Interconnection Procedures (“GIP”) and its pro forma Generator Interconnection Agreement (“GIA”).  With the exception of one issue, FERC otherwise rejected the Generation Developers requests that FERC reconsider prior MISO revisions regarding the efficiency and timeliness of MISO’s generator interconnection queue process contained in Attachment X of its Open Access Transmission, Energy and Operating Reserve Markets Tariff (“Tariff”). Continue Reading FERC Largely Denies Rehearing Request to Change Existing MISO Generator Interconnection Procedures

On November 1, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) denied a petition from the Sierra Club challenging the Department of Energy’s (“DOE”) approval of liquified natural gas (“LNG”) exports from three facilities.  In doing so, the D.C. Circuit rejected arguments made by the Sierra Club that the DOE did not properly fulfill its obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) and the Natural Gas Act (“NGA”). Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Upholds DOE NEPA Reviews of LNG Export Applications

On November 2, 2017, the U.S. Senate confirmed the nominations of Kevin McIntyre and Richard Glick to join FERC.  McIntyre will serve as Chairman once he is officially sworn in.  Together, McIntyre and Glick will fill the five-member Commission board for the first time since October 2015. Continue Reading Senate Confirms McIntyre, Glick to FERC, Filling Remaining Commissioner Seats

On October 19, 2017, FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) proposing to direct the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) to modify the Critical Infrastructure Protection (“CIP”) Reliability Standard, CIP-003-7 (Cyber Security – Security Management Controls), which is intended to mitigate cyber security risks posed by malware from ‘transient electronic devices’ (such as laptops and thumb drives) used at low-impact cyber systems.  FERC stated in the NOPR that, once those modifications have been made, it plans to make the new reliability standard effective approximately 18 months after FERC approval. Continue Reading FERC Proposes to Direct NERC to Revise Cyber Proposal on Malware Risks

On October 6, 2017, FERC rejected the New England transmission owners’ (“NETOs”) amended compliance filing to reinstate their previous FERC-issued returns on equity (“ROE”), which were lowered due to a now-vacated FERC order.  FERC found that reinstating the original ROE would complicate the backdating process for which refunds or surcharges would be ordered and instead ordered the NETOs to continue collecting under their current, pending ROEs. Continue Reading FERC Denies ROE Change for New England Transmission Owners

On October 4, 2017, FERC issued two separate orders clarifying its jurisdiction under sections 203 and 205 of the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) related to certain project development activities.  In Ad Hoc Renewable Energy Financing Group, FERC granted a petition for declaratory order and confirmed that certain tax equity interests in public utilities do not constitute “voting securities” for purposes of FPA section 203 and therefore do not require prior FERC approval.  Separately, in ALLETE, Inc., FERC disclaimed jurisdiction under FPA section 205 over certain pre-construction activities and thereby found that ALLETE, Inc. did not need to file three pre-construction agreements with the agency.  Continue Reading FERC Issues Orders Clarifying Jurisdiction Over Specific Project Development Activities

On September 27, 2017, U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced Senate Bill 1860: A bill to amend section 203 of the Federal Power Act (the “FPA”).  The legislation, dubbed “The Parity Across Reviews Act” (the “Act”), would amend section 203(a)(1)(B) to add a $10 million threshold to the requirement to seek FERC approval prior to a public utility acquiring FERC-jurisdictional facilities.  Additionally, for transactions with a value greater than $1 million, but less than the newly-proposed $10 million threshold, the Act requires FERC to promulgate a rule, within 180 days of the enactment of the Act, that would require a public utility to notify FERC within 30 days of consummating such an acquisition.  Continue Reading Senate Bill Proposed to Add Monetary Threshold to FPA Section 203 Prior Approval Requirement for Facility Acquisitions

On September 20, 2017, FERC rejected the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.’s (“MISO”) proposed revisions to Attachment FF-6 of its Open Access Transmission, Energy and Operating Reserve Markets Tariff (“Tariff”).  Specifically, as part of its Order No. 1000 interregional planning and cost allocation efforts, MISO filed a proposed cost allocation plan for interregional projects that terminate wholly outside of MISO.  Ultimately, FERC found that MISO did not demonstrate how its proposed cost allocation plan was just and reasonable and therefore rejected MISO’s filing.  Continue Reading FERC Rejects MISO Tariff Revisions on Interregional Transmission Project Cost Allocation

On September 15, 2017, FERC issued an order determining that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (“NY DEC”) failure to act on Millennium Pipeline Co. LLC’s (“Millennium”) Clean Water Act (“CWA”) permit application before the statutory one-year deadline resulted in a waiver of its authority to issue the permit.  FERC’s decision has the effect of nullifying the NY DEC’s prior denial of Millennium’s permit application.  FERC’s order also allows Millennium to move forward with its “Valley Lateral Project” without the NY DEC’s water quality permit.   Continue Reading FERC Rules that NY DEC Waived Authority on Water Quality Permit for Pipeline Project