Energy Law Blog

On February 18, 2021, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) issued a renewed Notice of Inquiry (NOI)[1] seeking input on potential revisions to its current Policy Statement on the certification of new natural gas transmission facilities.[2]  The NOI supplements FERC’s 2018 NOI issued on the same topic.[3]  Citing changes following receipt of comments in its 2018 NOI proceeding (e.g., the Council on Environmental Quality’s promulgation of updated regulations under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) for implementation by all federal agencies[4] and Executive Order 14008[5]) FERC is seeking to…
With the change in administration in Washington, D.C., President Biden elevated Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) Commissioner Richard Glick to the position of Chairman. A Democrat, Commissioner Glick now assumes certain agenda-setting powers, including directing ongoing lawsuits at FERC and setting policy priorities. Two policies of note are transmission build-out and carbon pricing approval – both initially advanced during the Trump Administration, and enjoying some measure of support. Click here for the full article: Six Key Items to be Aware of Today Concerning FERC Carbon Pricing Policy Other Parts of this series include: Six Key Items to be Aware of
With the change in administration in Washington, D.C., President Biden elevated Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) Commissioner Richard Glick to the position of Chairman. A Democrat, Commissioner Glick now assumes certain agenda-setting powers, including directing ongoing lawsuits at FERC and setting policy priorities. Two policies of note are transmission build-out and carbon pricing approval – both initially advanced during the Trump Administration, and enjoying some measure of support. Here are six takeaways on how Chairman Glick’s appointment may impact the evolution of the prior carbon pricing approval proposals in a new Administration in the months ahead: On October 15, 2020,…
On December 30, 2020, New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (the “Department”) promulgated statewide ambient limits on greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions for the years 2030 and 2050 (the “Regulations”).[1]  The GHGs covered by the Regulations include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons.[2]  The final Regulations constitute a critical step in the implementation of New York State’s climate strategy set out in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (“CLCPA”). The CLCPA, enacted in July 2019,[3] amends both the state’s Environmental Conservation Law and Public Service Law to address and mitigate the effects of…
The FERC today issued Order No. 871-A, seeking further comment on modifications last summer to its regulations under Natural Gas Act Sections 3 and 7 that prohibited initiating pipeline construction, pending timely filing of any rehearing request, or a rehearing order on the merits. The Commission has requested initial briefs promptly, by February 16, and reply briefs by March 3. Perhaps not coincidentally, Order No. 871 is currently pending judicial review. Order No. 871-A inquires whether the Commission should prohibit construction while a rehearing request is pending, even though traditionally construction could begin before that (i.e., following an order authorizing…
Through a Notice of Inquiry (“Notice”)[1] approved at its January 19, 2021 open meeting, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) asked whether its Uniform System of Accounts (individually, an “Account,” and for more than one, “Accounts”) should be modified to better reflect the circumstances of non-hydro renewable assets that rely on heat, or motion, of the earth or sun, such as facilities that rely on solar, wind, biomass and geothermal sources.  The Notice describes how various Account categories currently do not readily correspond to renewable equipment. The Notice observes that certain types of renewable equipment (e.g., solar panels and…
As Congress was completing final negotiations of the stimulus package dealing with the public health and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, several key energy provisions made their way into the 5593-page omnibus spending bill passed by the House and Senate on December 21, 2020, particularly much needed extensions of several renewable energy and energy efficiency tax incentives. Specifically, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the “Act”)[1] addresses, among other things, the concerns of renewable energy developers regarding the potential expiration of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and, for the first time, includes provisions for…
Momentum is growing quickly towards widespread construction of US offshore wind-powered electrical generation facilities. Several States along the northern part of the Atlantic coast have projects actively under development and RFPs for more projects to come.  Recent regulatory guidance has been issued clarifying Jones Act implementation. Here are six key trends and developments for market participants to be aware of. Click here for the full article: Six Key Items to be Aware of Today in U.S. Offshore Wind (“OSW”) Other Parts of this series include: NYISO Battery Storage Rules Tax Equity for Public Utilities Natural Gas Pipeline Development CORSIA Baseline
Recently, the New York Independent System Operator (“NYISO”) implemented new rules to integrate storage resources, including battery resources, into wholesale electricity markets. NYISO’s rules come in response to FERC Order No. 841. Here are six key regulatory and transactional items from the new rules. Click here for the full article: NYISO Battery Storage Rules Other Parts of this series include Tax Equity for Public Utilities, Natural Gas Pipeline Development, CORSIA Baseline Emissions Decision, and Blockchain in the Electricity Industry: Six Items to Consider.…
Blockchain technology and smart contracts continue to show their potential for disrupting the electric energy industry. Through the use of blockchain, electricity markets could become more decentralized, efficient, transparent and automated. However, blockchain users must have a good understanding of the regulatory landscape in which they will be operating to ensure compliance with applicable laws, and traditional utilities should be aware of the opportunities and pitfalls the technology could pose. Please see attached the latest Sheppard Mullin Six Items to Consider concerning blockchain in the electric industry. Click here for the full article: Blockchain in the Electricity Industry: Six Items
A September 17, 2020 Final Rule adopted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“Commission”) removes barriers to the participation of distributed energy resource aggregators in Regional Transmission Organization (“RTO”) and Independent System Operator (“ISO”) markets.[1]  The Commission’s modified regulations[2] require each RTO/ISO to revise its tariff to ensure that its market rules facilitate the participation of distributed energy resource aggregators.  Order No. 2222 is a positive development for distributed energy resources that would like to participate in wholesale electric markets but are unable to do so, and should encourage greater renewable energy resource development in the coming…
The changes brought about by evolutions in renewable energy technologies, and in some cases aggravated by the impacts of COVID-19, are likely to up-end traditional relationships between different forms of energy and the customers that use them. These changes are significantly impacting not just competitors, but their contract counter-parties, the risks they face, their credit-worthiness and their customers. Renewable generation equipment’s cost continues to decline. Output from solar and wind is available at $0 short-term incremental dispatch cost. Battery research is identifying ways to lengthen the duration of output from that form of storage, and to lower its cost. But…
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has determined that 2019, rather than 2020, will be used as the emissions baseline for the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).  Here are six carbon financing impacts coming out of ICAO’s decision. Click here for the full article: CORSIA Baseline Emissions Decision Also, see part one and two of this series.…
Pipeline development continues to be highly contested in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) certificate proceedings and before trial and appellate courts.  Please see our discussion of six key topics for pipeline developers to be aware of. Click here for the full article: Natural Gas Pipeline Development Also, see part one of this series, “Tax Equity for Public Utilities.”…
On July 16, 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or “Commission”) dismissed a petition filed by the New England Ratepayers Association (“NERA”) requesting that the Commission declare that certain sales of energy by net-metered, behind-the-meter generators are exclusively subject to federal jurisdiction.  If granted, the petition would have resulted in the rates for such sales being set at an avoided cost rate in accordance with the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (“PURPA”) or wholesale market prices under the Federal Power Act (“FPA”), as applicable, rather than the interconnected utility’s retail rate.  The Commission declined to address the…
On July 18, 2019, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued Order No. 860.  The order requires entities with or seeking market-based rate authority (sellers) to submit certain data related to FERC’s market power analyses, including its indicative screens and asset appendices, into a “relational database” maintained by FERC.  The order also requires the submission of information associated with long-term firm sales.  When changes occur to data previously submitted, the relational database must be updated monthly by sellers.  The database will be used to, among other things, develop asset appendices and indicative screens for FERC filings that require a market…