On November 17, 2016, FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) in which it proposed modifications to its pro forma interconnection agreements that would require new generating facilities to install and enable primary frequency response equipment as a condition of interconnection. FERC explained that the proposed modifications are intended to address industry-wide reliability concerns related to declining frequency response performance. Continue Reading FERC Issues NOPR Proposing to Include Primary Frequency Response Provisions in Pro Forma Generation Interconnection Agreements
On August 1, 2016, the New York Public Service Commission approved the state’s plan to achieve fifty percent of its generation needs from renewables. In so doing, New York joins a handful of other states (including California Hawaii and Vermont) with ambitious clean energy goals at or above the fifty-percent mark.
Today, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released final guidance for Federal agencies on how to consider the impacts of their actions on climate change in their National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews. The guidance is intended to help agencies make informed and transparent decisions about the impacts of climate change associated with their actions. Continue Reading White House Council on Environmental Quality Releases Final Guidance on Considering Climate Change in Environmental Reviews
On May 5, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2016-31, which updates its prior guidance to reflect the extension of the beginning of construction deadline for the PTC and ITC made by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (the PATH Act).
On April 8, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”), on voluntary remand from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“DC Circuit”), reaffirmed its approval of an exemption of up to 200 MW of renewable resources from ISO New England Inc’s (“ISO-NE”) minimum offer pricing rule (“MOPR”) in ISO-NE’s Forward Capacity Market (“FCM”). Barring further legal challenges, the renewables exemption will remain effective as of June 1, 2014. Continue Reading FERC Reaffirms Renewables Exemption to ISO-NE MOPR on Voluntary Remand from the DC Circuit
On April 4, 2016, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed into law Senate Bill 323 (“SB 323”), the Reauthorization of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act, which requires Maryland to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 2006 levels by 2030. Going forward, Maryland’s Department of the Environment (“MDE”) is directed to propose an initial plan to meet the reduction goals, hold workshops to provide interested parties the opportunity to comment, and then adopt a final plan by the end of 2019. Continue Reading Maryland Governor Reauthorizes Act with 40 Percent Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goal
Oregon governor Kate Brown has signed into law the popular Oregon Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan. This landmark piece of legislation, among other things, (i) completely phases out the supply of electricity from coal fired generation facilities for Oregon utility customers, (ii) increases the renewable portfolio standard in Oregon and (iii) establishes a community solar program statewide. Continue Reading Oregon Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan signed into law
The Vermont Public Service Board has issued a Certificate of Public Good (the “Certificate”) for the New England Clean Power Link Project (the “Project”), a 1,000MW high voltage direct current transmission line to be constructed and operated under Lake Champlain and in surrounding areas. The Project is intended to carry electricity into Vermont generated by wind, hydro and other renewable sources in Canada, connecting New England power markets to Canada’s green energy resources. Continue Reading Key Permit Granted for New England Clean Power Link
On Tuesday, February 9, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay of the Clean Power Plan based on applications filed by a broad coalition of states, the coal industry, the utility industry, and chambers of commerce. The parties filed the applications after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals denied similar motions.
This marks the first time that the Supreme Court has granted a stay request before a rule has been heard on its merits in lower courts. The stay will remain in place during proceedings in the D.C. Circuit and throughout any proceedings in the Supreme Court.
The stay is a major victory for the parties challenging the Clean Power Plan and has significant implications moving forward. First, with a stay now in place, states can wait for the outcome of the case before developing state plans to implement the Clean Power Plan. Even if the Rule survives litigation states should then be able to pick up where they left off in the planning process. Based on stays granted in other contexts, the court may further extend the applicable deadlines, and States would then have more time to prepare their initial plans after litigation comes to an end.
On Monday, January 25, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in FERC v. Electric Power Supply Assn affirming the validity of FERC Order 745, which provides for compensation to consumers for using less power during peak demand periods. The decision overturns the ruling in the D.C. Circuit case, EPSA v. FERC (May 27, 2014) that held that the FERC rule usurps state authority over retail electricity markets.
FERC Order 745, also known as the demand response rule, was issued in March 2011 with the goal of encouraging the participation of demand resources in wholesale markets administered by FERC. Such demand response participants, typically large consumers such as industrial consumers, factories, local utilities or large groups of electricity users, are compensated for reducing or abstaining from energy use during high demand periods by being able to bid such reduced energy consumption on the wholesale market at the same wholesale Locational Marginal Prices (“LMP”) as generating resources. By allowing compensation of demand resources for reduced consumption, the wholesale market operates more competitively, thereby benefitting electricity customers and increasing the reliability of the grid.