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 March 1, 2018, President Donald Trump said that his administration would begin imposing a 25% tariff on imported steel and a 10% tariff on imported aluminum as early as the next week.  The President’s unexpected announcement came after the Department of Commerce concluded on February 16, 2018 that the importation of steel and aluminum threatens national security.  The Commerce Department reached its conclusion after finalizing investigations under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which were initiated in April 2017 and designed to determine whether such imports “threaten to impair the national security.” Continue Reading President Trump Announces Upcoming Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum

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 27, 2018, FERC staff completed an inquiry in which they did not uncover any evidence of anticompetitive withholding of natural gas pipeline capacity on Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC pipeline (“Algonquin”) by New England shippers.  The inquiry initially arose from allegations made by the Environmental Defense Fund (“EDF”) that Eversource Energy (“Eversource”) and Avangrid, Inc. (“Avangrid”) were artificially constraining capacity on the Algonquin.  After finding that Eversource and Avangrid did not engage in anticompetitive behavior, FERC staff will not take any further action on the matter. Continue Reading FERC Staff Inquiry Concludes No Withholding of Natural Gas Pipeline Capacity in New England

On February 20, 2018, FERC approved PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.’s (“PJM”) proposal to, among other things, (1) eliminate biddable points at zone nodes, certain generator nodes, certain aggregate nodes, and individual load zones for Increment Offers (“INCs”) and Decrement Bids (“DECs”) and instead align the eligible trading points for INCs and DECs with nodes where generation, load, or interchange transactions are settled, or at trading hubs where forward positions can be taken; and (2) allow trading of Up-to-Congestion transactions (“UTCs”) at hubs, residual metered load, and interfaces, but not at individual nodes. Continue Reading FERC Approves PJM’s Proposal to Reduce Bidding Points for Virtual Transactions

On February 21, 2018, FERC accepted PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.’s (“PJM”) Order No. 825 compliance filing, subject to condition.  In Order No. 825, FERC directed each regional transmission organization (“RTO”) and independent system operator (“ISO”) to align settlement and dispatch intervals, and modify certain rules regarding when shortage pricing is triggered. Continue Reading FERC Conditionally Accepts PJM’s Order No. 825 Compliance Filing on Shortage Pricing and Settlement and Dispatch Alignment

On February 14, 2018, FERC accepted a suite of system functionality enhancements to the Energy Imbalance Market (“EIM”) proposed by the California Independent System Operator Corporation (“CAISO”).  The enhancements, which became effective the following day, included automated matching of import/export schedule changes between resources inside and outside the EIM, as well as allowing EIM entities to use CAISO’s settlement process to address base energy transfer differences.  As CAISO explained in its proposal, the requested enhancements will improve the EIM overall, as well as facilitate the entrance of Powerex Corp. and Idaho Power Company into the market on April 4, 2018. Continue Reading FERC Accepts CAISO EIM System Functionality Enhancement Proposal

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 an order issued February 15, 2018 (“February 15 Order”), FERC found that several transmission owners participating in the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) market have been acting inconsistently with FERC Order No. 890, and that certain terms and conditions in PJM’s Open Access Transmission Tariff (“OATT”) are unjust and unreasonable.  In particular, FERC concluded that the PJM transmission owners’ planning processes ran afoul of the coordination and transparency principles in Order No. 890 by allowing the incumbent transmission owners to bypass input and, effectively, competition, from other transmission planning stakeholders.  FERC ordered the transmission owners to revise the OATT and Operating Agreement in compliance with Order No. 890. Continue Reading FERC Finds PJM Transmission Owner Supplemental Project Planning Process Violates Order No. 890 and PJM Operating Agreement