On February 21, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) vacated and remanded a FERC gas storage order for failure to offer a reasoned basis for its decision. The D.C. Circuit held that FERC acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it ordered that new natural gas storage customers pay for replenishing base gas via incremental rates, rather than spreading the costs amongst all customers through rolled-in rates.
Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Remands FERC Gas Storage Order on Cost Causation Pricing

On Thursday, October 17, 2013 the California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) unanimously voted in favor of adopting a program that sets energy storage targets for the three-investor owned utilities (“IOUs”), Pacific Gas & Electric Co., Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric.  Such an action marks the first time that energy storage has been mandated (even as a target) in the United States. 
Continue Reading Leading the Way: California Adopts Country’s First Energy Storage Targets for Utilities

In a 33-5 vote on September 10, the California State Assembly passed an assembly bill that could help to rekindle the large-scale renewable energy project market in California.  The bill, AB 327, is the first major rewriting of utility ratemaking policy since California’s 2000-2001 energy crisis.  Among other provisions, it allows for an increase in

On Thursday, July 18, 2013, FERC issued Order No. 784, the final rule on third-party provision of ancillary services and the accounting and financial reporting for new electric storage facilities (“Final Rule”). FERC stated that the Final Rule, which will revise its regulations to reform its “Avista” policy, will provide additional rate flexibility for purchasers

The Storage Technology for Renewable and Green Energy Act of 2013, or STORAGE 2013 Act, seeks to make the energy grid cleaner and more efficient, and to reduce the cost of electricity to consumers.

Today’s energy grid system suffers from the high demand for energy that occurs during peak times throughout the year. For example, to meet a mere 400 hours of peak demand, more than 25% of distribution grid capacity and assets and 10% of transmission systems are needed.  Part of the reason why peak periods put so much strain on the energy grid is the lack of ability to harness energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar during such periods; energy generation from these sources varies with the weather and time of day, which does not always coincide with peak demand times.

Because of the variability of these renewable technologies, only dispatchable plants are available to meet the extra demand during peak times, and they must operate at 100% capacity in order to do so. The need to run higher-cost plants during the high-demand periods results in premium prices for consumers.

Continue Reading New Bill Proposes Tax Credits for Renewable Energy Storage

On April 23, 2013, FERC’s Director of Office of Energy Projects, Jeff C. Wright, testified before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources concerning draft legislation aimed at increasing hydropower production in the United States. The draft legislation at issue included S. 545, “Hydropower Improvement Act of 2013” and H.R. 267, “Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency

On April 19, 2012, FERC’s Office of Enforcement presented its 2011 State of the Markets report at FERC’s monthly meeting.  The State of the Markets report is an annual presentation of staff’s assessment of natural gas, electric, and other energy markets.  The report focused on natural gas production, natural gas storage inventories, natural gas prices, liquid natural gas (“LNG”) export proposals, power prices, gas and electric demand, and gas-fired generators.
Continue Reading FERC Staff Presents 2011 State of the Markets

On October 28, 2011, White House Chief of Staff, William Daley, announced that there will be an independent analysis of the Department of Energy (“DOE”) loan portfolio, and particularly more than two dozen renewable energy loans and loan guarantees made by the DOE program.   The review will be led by Herb Allison, a former U.S. Treasury official.