On February 15, 2018, FERC issued a notice that staff will hold a technical conference on April 10-11, 2018 to discuss the participation of distributed energy resources (“DER”) in markets operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators.  As FERC stated in the notice, the two-day conference will host several panels on two broad DER-related agendas: first, to continue considering the DER-related reforms initially proposed in the rulemaking culminating in the concurrently-issued Order No. 841 on electric storage participation in organized markets; and second, to broadly explore issues related to the potential effects of DERs on the bulk power system.

Additional details will be provided in a supplemental notice to be issued closer to the conference date.  The deadline to submit a nomination form to participate in the conference as a panelist is March 15, 2018.  Those interested in attending in person are encouraged to register online by April 3, 2018.

A copy of FERC’s notice, and a description of the panels to be convened during the conference, can be found here.

In response to concerns regarding the changing nature of the nation’s energy supply portfolio and the emergence of promising energy storage technologies, the Commission in recent years issued several notices of inquiry, notices of proposed rulemaking, and policy statements regarding various energy storage and ancillary service supply issues.  Additionally, the Commission considered but ultimately declined to pursue the Department of Energy-initiated rulemaking on grid resiliency and reliability.  On February 15, 2018, however, the Commission took concrete action by issuing a pair of Final Rules, addressing (i) storage participation in regional markets; and (ii) the provision of primary frequency response, a critical grid support service. Continue Reading FERC Issues Final Rules on Electric Storage Participation in RTOs/ISOs and Primary Frequency Response for New Generators

On February 2, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) remanded FERC’s decision denying complaints that the ISO New England, Inc.’s (“ISO-NE”) rules locking in prices for new entrants to ISO-NE’s Forward Capacity Market (“FCM”) result in price suppression and discriminatory rates for existing suppliers.  In doing so, the D.C. Circuit held that FERC did not adequately explain why its prior decision to reject a similar proposal did not apply to ISO-NE’s rules. Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Remands FERC Decision Upholding ISO-NE FCM Rules Locking in Prices for New Entrants

On February 5, 2018, FERC conditionally accepted a proposal by the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) to amend its Open Access Transmission Tariff (“OATT”) and Amended and Restated Operating Agreement (“Operating Agreement”) to accommodate additional pseudo-tied and dynamically scheduled resources into the PJM region.  FERC accepted the proposal and provided an effective date of November 9, 2017, provided that PJM submits a compliance filing addressing FERC’s limited concerns in the order. Continue Reading FERC Conditionally Accepts PJM Tariff Amendments Related to Pseudo-Ties and Dynamic Schedules

On January 26, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) rejected a challenge to FERC’s approval of tariff revisions from the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) regarding the so-called cost-of-new-entry (“CONE”), or the anticipated revenues required to recover costs in PJM’s wholesale capacity market.  A coalition of generators challenged PJM’s CONE as too low, which they argued undercut their own recovery in the capacity market.  In a brief opinion, the D.C. Circuit held that petitioners’ claims failed to overcome the deferential standard of review applied to factual challenges to agency orders. Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Upholds PJM Capacity Market CONE

On January 19, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (the “D.C. Circuit”) rejected the New England Power Generators Association’s (the “Association”) challenge to two FERC orders on ISO New England Inc.’s (“ISO-NE”) scarcity pricing mechanisms in ISO-NE’s real-time and capacity markets.  The D.C. Circuit rejected the challenge both on procedural grounds and on the merits. Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Rejects Challenge to FERC Orders on ISO-NE Scarcity Pricing Rules

On January 22, 2018, a New York state trial court largely rejected motions to dismiss various challenges to the state’s zero emission credit (“ZEC”) program established in 2016 by the New York Public Service Commission (“NYPSC”).  The ZEC program, which is also being challenged in federal court, provides subsidies to financially struggling in-state nuclear energy generators.  Although the court allowed five of the six claims against the program to proceed to trial, the court dismissed 56 of the 61 petitioners for failing to timely raise their challenges. Continue Reading New York ZEC Challenges Move Forward at the State Level

On January 12, 2018, FERC rejected PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.’s (“PJM”) proposal to revise its allocation of the costs associated with day-ahead Operating Reserves and real-time balancing Operating Reserves.  Specifically, PJM proposed to allocate uplift charges related to these reserves to Up-to-Congestion transactions (“UTCs”), a type of virtual transaction, in the same way that such uplift is allocated to other virtual transactions—namely, incremental offers of supply (“INC”) and decrement demand bids (“DEC”).  FERC rejected PJM’s proposal, without prejudice, on the grounds that PJM had failed to demonstrate that UTCs were sufficiently similar to INCs and DECs to justify allocating uplift to UTCs in the same manner that it allocates uplift to INCs and DECs. Continue Reading FERC Rejects PJM’s Proposal to Allocate Uplift to UTC Transactions

On January 18, 2018, FERC approved California Independent System Operator Corporation’s (“CAISO”) changes to its resource adequacy program to, among other things, (1) allow capacity located in a local capacity area, but procured as system capacity, to provide system substitution capacity during forced outages and (2) cap a load serving entity’s (“LSE”) monthly local capacity requirement at its monthly system capacity requirement. Continue Reading FERC Approves Changes to CAISO’s Resource Adequacy Program

On December 29, 2017, FERC conditionally accepted revisions to the Joint Operating Agreement (“JOA”) between PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) and Midcontinent Independent Operator System, Inc. (“MISO”) that are intended to improve the coordination of resources that are pseudo-tied between the two regional transmission organizations (“RTOs”).   A “pseudo-tie” is a mechanism used by one Balancing Authority (“BA”) to control generating resources that are physically located in another BA.  The proposed revisions were given an effective date of October 1, 2017, subject to a ministerial compliance filing. Continue Reading FERC Conditionally Accepts Revisions to the PJM-MISO JOA to Enhance Coordination of Pseudo-Tied Resources