The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced this week that it will hold a technical conference on centralized capacity markets in Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs). The purpose of the technical conference is to consider how current centralized capacity market rules and structures are supporting the procurement and retention of resources necessary to meet future reliability and operational needs. In its Notice, FERC pointed out that since their establishment, centralized capacity markets have continued to evolve. Meanwhile, the mix of resources is also evolving in response to changing market conditions, including low natural gas prices, state and federal policies encouraging the entry of renewable resources and other specific technologies, and the retirement of aging generation resources. This changing resource mix, according to FERC, may result in future reliability and operational needs that are different than those of the past. In addition, some states have pursued individual resource adequacy policies to ensure the development of new resources in particular areas or with particular characteristics, and questions have been raised as to how those individual policies can be accommodated in centralized capacity markets.

FERC noted that it has addressed a number of these issues in specific cases, based on the facts and circumstances presented in a given case and the particular centralized capacity market design implemented by individual regions. This technical conference will provide an opportunity to review at a high level the centralized capacity market rules and structures, and will examine how these markets are accomplishing their intended goals and objectives through a competitive, market-based process. Recognizing and respecting differences across the markets, the technical conference will focus on the goals and objectives of existing centralized capacity markets (e.g., resource adequacy, long-term price signals, fixed-cost recovery, etc.) and examine how specific design elements are accomplishing existing and emerging goals and objectives (e.g., forward period, commitment period, product definition and specificity, market power mitigation, etc.).

The technical conference will take place at the Commission on September 25, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. to approximately 5:00 p.m. All interested persons are invited to participate and the conference will be broadcast free by webcast. A supplemental notice will be issued in Docket No. AD13-7-000 with further details regarding the agenda and information regarding interest in speaking at the technical conference.