Much has been written about the problem of the stagnating electricity market due to a combination of falling demand, widespread energy efficiency initiatives, lower electricity costs and aging infrastructure.

This issue has created a situation in which both power generators and utilities are unable to effectively plan for the future. Some utilities have even asked the federal government to approve rate payer-funded bailouts for specific power plants.

Continue Reading Vehicle Emissions Rollback Shouldn’t Stop Utilities From Investing in Electric Vehicles

“Standing” –  a person’s right to sue someone else for injury – is a fundamental issue in every case. In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Spokeo v. Robins, which required that a person’s injury be both “concrete” and “particularized” to confer standing.

Since Spokeo, the environmental bar has been left guessing how Spokeo would play out in environmental cases, as many environmental cases are rooted in federal statutes that give private individuals the right to sue. That question was answered for the first time last week when a federal judge in North Carolina dismissed a lawsuit brought under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) rule, in part because the plaintiff environmental group failed to meet the standing test established under Spokeo. Continue Reading Recent RCRA Ruling Offers Insight on Applying Spokeo to Environmental Citizen Suits

On December 15, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) in Docket No. RM17-3-000 regarding fast-start resources operating in markets run by independent system operators (ISOs) and regional transmission organizations (RTOs). Specifically, the NOPR addresses the manner in which ISOs and RTOs should incorporate offers from fast start-resources into their Day Ahead and Real Time energy prices. FERC claims that these efforts are another step to improve price formation in wholesale electricity markets. Continue Reading FERC Issues Fast-Start Resources NOPR

On June 21, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) issued three orders related to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) critical infrastructure protection reliability standards (CIP reliability standards). The Commission issued a final rule directing NERC to develop a new or modified reliability standard, an Order Denying Rehearing and a Notice of Inquiry. Continue Reading FERC Issues Orders Concerning NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection Reliability Standards

On July 21, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) in Docket No. RM16-17-000 to revise regulations regarding the collection of data for analytics and surveillance purposes from market-based rates (MBR) sellers and entities trading virtual products or holding financial transmission rights (Virtual/FTR Participants). FERC also withdrew two earlier NOPRs in Docket Nos. RM15-23-000 and RM16-3-000. FERC indicated that the newly-issued NOPR would address many of the issues in the withdrawn NOPRs. Continue Reading FERC Issues NOPR on Information Collection, Rescinds Previous Iterations of Rule

On April 4, 2016, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that it had unanimously approved proposed guidance regarding the appropriate treatment of certain electric power and natural gas contracts under the definition of the term “swap.” Continue Reading CFTC and SEC Approves Proposed Guidance on Regulatory Treatment of Certain Electric Power and Natural Gas Contracts

Last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) seeking comment on the need for reforms regarding the provision of and compensation for primary frequency response. The NOI notes that fewer generation resources may currently be providing primary frequency response than in the past. The Commission expects this trend to continue as more Variable Energy Resources (VER), such as solar or wind generators, are integrated into the nation’s electric grid. As the Commission explained, the NOI is necessary due to the significance of primary frequency response to the reliable operation of the electric grid. Continue Reading FERC Issues a Notice of Inquiry on Primary Frequency Response

On November 19, 2015 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) issued a proposal titled “Reactive Power Requirements for Non-Synchronous Generation.” In this proposal, the Commission proposes to revise standard generator interconnection agreements (GIAs) to eliminate the exemptions for non-synchronous generation, including wind generators, from the requirement to provide reactive power. Continue Reading FERC Issues Proposal to Require Wind Generators to Provide Reactive Power

This updates our September 28, 2015 report on FERC’s NOPR to require “market participants” in RTO and ISO organized electricity markets to obtain a Legal Entity Identifier (LEI), an alpha-numeric identifier issued through the Global LEI System, and to provide information regarding their “Connected Entities” to the RTO/ISO in which they operate.

Our September 28 report contains a detailed description of the NOPR.  To briefly recapitulate, the NOPR defines a market participant as any seller or buyer of services offered in those markets.  Continue Reading Update on FERC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) Regarding RTO/ISO Collection of Uniform Organized Market Participant Data