On October 22, 2018, FERC Commissioner Kevin McIntyre announced in a letter to President Donald Trump that he would step down from his role as Chairman and would continue his work as Commissioner. In addition, President Trump announced on October 24, 2018 that current FERC Commissioner and former Chairman Neil Chatterjee would replace Commissioner McIntyre as FERC Chairman. Continue Reading McIntyre Steps Down as FERC Chairman; President Trump Designates Chatterjee as His Replacement
Troutman Sanders LLP has authored the 2019 Alternative Energy & Power Guide for Chambers and Partners. The firm’s Energy and Capital Projects & Infrastructure practices were asked by Chambers to be the exclusive contributor for the section. Associates Jamond Perry and Meghan Mandel and partners Christopher Jones, Amie Colby, Anne Dailey, Bill Derasmo, Cliff Sikora, and John Leonti wrote and edited the guide.
Troutman Sanders’ energy practice groups have counseled utilities and other energy clients about changing regulatory challenges since the 1920s. The team handles matters across the energy-related sector including renewable energy, nuclear, and natural gas, energy construction, electricity, and energy storage.
On September 28, 2018, President Donald Trump signed into law Public Law No: 115-247, amending Federal Power Act (“FPA”) section 203 to add a $10 million threshold for public utility mergers and acquisitions requiring FERC approval. The new law will also require FERC to (i) issue a rule to require any public utility to notify FERC, after 30 days of the close of the transaction, if the value of the merger is more than $1 million but less than $10 million and (ii) submit a report to Congress assessing the impacts of the new law. The amendments to FPA section 203 will become effective on March 27, 2019. Continue Reading New Law Amends FPA Section 203 to Add Monetary Threshold to Public Utility Mergers and Acquisitions
On October 1, 2018, FERC released its Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2018-2022. FERC affirmed its mission of maintaining reliable, efficient, and sustainable energy for consumers by setting three primary goals: (1) ensuring that rates, terms, and conditions are just, reasonable, and not unduly discriminatory or preferential; (2) promoting the development of safe, reliable, and efficient energy infrastructure that serves the public interest through the review of natural gas and hydropower infrastructure proposals; and (3) managing resourcing to support its mission through organizational excellence. Continue Reading FERC Releases Strategic Plan for FY 2018-2022
On October 3, 3018, President Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate Bernard L. McNamee to fill the vacant seat on FERC, for the term expiring June 30, 2020, resulting from Commissioner Robert Powelson’s resignation. If nominated, confirmed, and sworn in, Mr. McNamee would restore the Republican majority among FERC Commissioners.
On September 4, 2018, the U.S. Senate passed, by voice vote, two bills related to FERC’s authority under the Federal Power Act (“FPA”). One bill, S. 186, would allow challenges to rate changes that would automatically go into effect when FERC is deadlocked. The other bill, H.R. 1109, changes the monetary thresholds for determining when a proposed merger or acquisition requires FERC approval. Continue Reading U.S. Senate Passes Bills Related to FERC Deadlock, Merger Review
FERC Commissioner Robert Powelson announced Thursday, June 28, 2018, that he plans to resign from FERC in mid-August 2018 to become president and CEO of the National Association of Water Companies, a trade group for the private water industry. Continue Reading Commissioner Powelson Announces Resignation
On June 21, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States (“Supreme Court”) held that the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) Administrative Law Judges (“ALJs”) are “Officers of the United States” whose appointment must meet the requirements of the Constitution’s Appointments Clause. Accordingly, pursuant to the Appointments Clause, the SEC ALJs must be appointed by the SEC itself, as the “Head of the Department.” It is unclear whether this impacts any of the current ALJs at FERC. Continue Reading Supreme Court Rules SEC ALJs Were Not Constitutionally Appointed
On June 12, 2018, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hosted all five FERC Commissioners for an oversight hearing to discuss topics that included the agency’s approach to changes in the makeup of generating plants on the bulk power system and the efficiency of its energy infrastructure permitting processes. Continue Reading Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Holds Hearing on FERC Oversight
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