This post was co-authored by Stoel Rives summer associate Ryan Laws.

On April 12, 2024, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published notice in the Federal Register of a final rule (89 Fed. Reg. 26070) that amends regulations regarding the issuance of enhancement of survival and incidental take permits under the Endangered Species Act.

This post was co-authored by Stoel Rives summer associate Connor McRobert.

On May 1, 2024, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) published notice in the Federal Register of a final rule amending its regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The final rule, known as the Phase II revisions to NEPA, comes nearly a year after CEQ issued its proposed rule and is mostly consistent with the proposed rule. Notably, the final rule emphasizes that NEPA contains action-forcing procedural requirements to implement the letter and spirit of the Act. This shifts the traditional view that NEPA is a purely procedural statute that only informs decision-making and does not mandate outcomes. Although CEQ intends these changes to add regulatory certainty, it is highly likely the final rule will be subject to court challenges. In addition to the new NEPA characterization, the final rule adopts multiple changes that substantially expand NEPA in scope and impact several aspects of the NEPA review process. Key changes in the final rule include:

Consideration of Climate Change. The final rule requires agencies to analyze the effects of climate change on projects and, conversely, the potential effects of projects on climate change. Specifically, where feasible, projects must quantify greenhouse gas emissions from the proposed action and alternatives. Broadly, the final rule adds climate change to a host of effects that an agency must already consider.Continue Reading Council on Environmental Quality Publishes Final Rule Substantially Amending NEPA

On May 13, 2024, at a special transmission reform meeting, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) issued Order No. 1920 “Building for the Future Through Electric Regional Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation” (Final Rule).[1]  The Final Rule builds upon Order No. 888, Order No. 890, and Order No. 1000, which developed

On Thursday, May 9, 2024, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) issued an addendum to its Interconnection Process Enhancements (IPE) Track 2 Final Proposal, and issued a revised version of that addendum on May 17.  Track 2 focuses on modifications to the interconnection and queue management processes to address the substantial interconnection request volumes in

Background

The California Independent System Operator’s (CAISO) recently issued Interconnection Process Enhancements (IPE) final proposal[1] provides heightened requirements to complete an interconnection request and relies on scoring criteria to determine which projects advance to the interconnection study process. Due to the proposed 150% cap on specific interconnection zones, not all interconnection requests in each

The Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) oversees the siting of large-scale energy facilities like wind and solar power projects, which often include an associated Battery Energy Storage System (BESS). BESS is a critical tool in the decarbonization toolbox, offering backup power when it’s needed and addressing intermittency and other grid limitation problems. Though many

Summary

On March 29, 2024, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) released the Track 2 final proposal for its Interconnection Process Enhancements (IPE) initiative. The proposed changes in the IPE proposal aim to address the “unprecedented and unsustainable interconnection request volumes” in the CAISO.  CAISO proposes to adopt a zonal approach that prioritizes project interconnection in areas with existing or planned transmission capacity, to cap the number of projects permitted to proceed into the study process at 150% of the available and planned transmission capacity in specific zones, and adopt scoring criteria for eligibility and prioritization in the interconnection study process. Continue Reading CAISO Releases Interconnection Process Enhancements Final Proposal

UPDATE 6/20/2024 [Update co-authored by Stoel Rives summer associate Connor McRobert]: On May 31, 2024, the Council voted to further revise these proposed rules by adding several more minor proposed changes. The Council has reissued the notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) and initiated another public comment period ending July 22, 2024. See Reissued Notice

At the July 27, 2023, Open Meeting, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued long-awaited Order No. 2023, the Final Rule on Improvements to Generator Interconnection Procedures and Agreements in Docket No. RM22-14-000.  The rulemaking arose from the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Building for the Future Through Electric Regional Transmission Planning and Cost

During its May 18 voting meeting, the California Public Utilities Commission (Commission) voted to open a new rulemaking proceeding that will consider improvements to its permitting procedures for electric infrastructure projects that fall under its jurisdiction.  The Commission’s action is driven by increased legislative and policy interest in reducing barriers to energy infrastructure development to