On March 9, 2018, a divided FERC approved the Competitive Auctions with Sponsored Policy Resources (“CASPR”) proposal submitted by the ISO New England Inc. (“ISO-NE”). Developed through an extensive stakeholder process that began in 2016, CASPR was promoted by ISO-NE as a mechanism to integrate out-of-market state resource policies that might otherwise suppress capacity market prices in ISO-NE’s capacity market. A divided FERC approved the proposal as a just and reasonable accommodation of state policies, with Commissioner Powelson dissenting, arguing that the proposal dilutes market signals and “threatens the viability” of ISO-NE’s capacity market. Commissioners LaFleur and Glick concurred with the outcome, but criticized the order’s guidance on adapting markets to state energy policies, and reliance on minimum offer pricing rules (“MOPRs”) as the “standard solution” to achieve that end. Continue Reading A Divided FERC Approves ISO-NE’s Capacity Market Changes to Accommodate State Subsidized Resources

On February 23, 2018, FERC approved PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.’s (“PJM”) changes to its tariff and Reliability Assurance Agreement (“RAA”) to revise Reliability Pricing Model (“RPM”) capacity market rules in order to accommodate greater participation from seasonal resources.  Specifically, FERC approved changes related to: (1) resource aggregation for submitting combined capacity market sell offers; (2) granting winter-period interconnection rights; and (3) demand response resource measurement and verification for seasonal resources.  However, FERC separately responded to complaints that the RPM does not adequately accommodate seasonal resources by directing FERC staff to establish a technical conference to explore whether further changes are needed to permit seasonal resource participation. Continue Reading FERC Orders Technical Conference on Seasonal Resources Participating in PJM’s RPM Capacity Market

In dual orders issued on February 28, 2018, FERC affirmed that the current resource adequacy requirements of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”) remain just and reasonable, and simultaneously rejected an earlier MISO filing that would have imposed additional resource adequacy program changes.  The rejection of MISO’s earlier filing came after the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) granted FERC a voluntary remand to reconsider its previous conditional acceptance in light of NRG Power Marketing, LLC. v. FERC (“NRG”). Continue Reading FERC Reaffirms Current MISO Resource Adequacy Program, Cites Recent D.C. Circuit Decision in Separate Rejection of Other Resource Adequacy Proposals on Remand

On February 28, 2018, FERC accepted ISO New England Inc.’s (“ISO-NE”) and the New England Power Pool Participants Committee’s (“NEPOOL”) tariff revisions to replace the capacity market’s existing bilateral contracting mechanism with a new mechanism, the Annual Reconfiguration Transaction (“ART”).  According to ISO-NE, the ART provides an alternative method to achieve the equivalent of a Capacity Supply Obligation (“CSO”) Bilateral while also accounting for a resource’s impact on reliability.  Continue Reading ISO-NE Creates New Annual Reconfiguration Transaction in its Forward Capacity Market

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 January 18, 2018, FERC took steps to develop supply chain risk management Reliability Standards and to approve several new Emergency Preparedness and Operations (“EOP”) Reliability Standards.  First, FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) proposing to direct the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) to develop supply chain risk management requirements under the Critical Infrastructure Protection (“CIP”) Reliability Standards.  Second, in a separate order, FERC approved several new EOP Reliability Standards aimed at addressing emergency event reporting, roles and responsibilities during system restoration via blackstart resources, system restoration plans and coordination, and the loss of control center functionality.  Continue Reading FERC Proposes to Approve Supply Chain Risk Management Reliability Standards and Approves New EOP Reliability Standards

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 January 8, 2018, FERC terminated the Department of Energy’s (“DOE”) Proposed Rule on Grid Reliability and Resilience Pricing (“Proposed Rule”) proceeding, and, instead, initiated a new proceeding whereby FERC plans to collect information on resilience from regional transmission organizations (“RTO”) and independent system operators (“ISO”).  Once that information is collected, FERC will determine whether further action is necessary to address grid resilience.  While FERC’s decision was unanimous, three of FERC’s Commissioners issued separate concurring opinions.  Of note, Commissioner Neil Chatterjee stated that while he would have preferred an order that took an interim step to address the issues raised in the Proposed Rule, he looked forward to addressing those critical issues in the new proceeding established by FERC. Continue Reading FERC Terminates DOE NOPR Proceeding, Requests Information from RTOs/ISOs on Resilience

On December 21, 2017, FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) proposing to direct the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) to modify the cybersecurity incident reporting requirements under the Critical Infrastructure Protection (“CIP”) Reliability Standards.  According to FERC, the proposal is intended to “improve awareness of existing and future cyber security threats and potential vulnerabilities.”
Continue Reading FERC Proposes to Improve Cybersecurity Incident Report Requirements in NOPR