Tax equity investments, and potentially other passive investments, in renewable energy just became that much easier to make. Today, in response to a petition for declaratory order filed in January 2017 by a coalition of investors and project sponsors, FERC ruled that tax equity investments in public utilities does not trigger section 203 of the
By a notice issued yesterday, September 28, Rick Perry, the Secretary of Energy, utilized section 403 of the DOE Act to require FERC to cause organized energy market operators (ISOs/RTOs) to compensate “fuel secure generation”, i.e., coal power, for grid “resiliency”–something that apparently puts Americans at risk despite statements by NERC to the contrary or…
The US Treasury will soon be $205,000 richer due to the payment of a civil penalty by American Transmission Company (ATC) related to violations of sections 203 and 205 of the Federal Power Act. ATC’s compliance failure stems from 21 transactions for which it had failed to file for authorization under section 203 and 29…
On April 4, 2017 (NextEra Desert Center Blythe, LLC v. FERC, Case No. 16-1003 (“NextEra”)), the DC Circuit issued a decision remanding back to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) orders denying NextEra Desert Center Blythe, LLC’s (“NextEra”) complaint against the California Independent System Operator Corporation (“CAISO”) regarding the allocation of congestion revenue rights (“CRRs”) under the CAISO tariff. The DC Circuit’s ruling was narrow, based on finding ambiguity in the relevant contract and tariff provisions where FERC determined there was none. The court’s decision highlights the importance of addressing potential regulatory cost recovery options in a FERC-jurisdictional contract.
Continue Reading Generator Receives Another Shot at Obtaining CAISO Congestion Revenue Rights
As a follow up to yesterday’s post, President Trump’s Energy Independence Executive Order (the “Order”) has now been posted on the White House website, a summary of which can be found here. Over the last week, many pundits and industry insiders have speculated on its contents, with many having a fairly clear crystal…
Section 1 of the Order sets forth various policy objectives, many of which (e.g., clean, reliable, affordable, safe energy) are goals that should garner bi-partisan support. How these policies are interpreted by the various heads of agencies will be one factor guiding America’s energy future. Another policy factor may be critical, contained in section 1(d), that “all agencies should take appropriate actions to promote clean air and clean water for the American people, while also respecting the proper roles of Congress and the States concerning these matters in our constitutional republic.” This interplay between various states’ initiatives (and those states’ renewable portfolio standards) and the direction in the Order may impact the overall direction and tone set in the Order.
Continue Reading Brief Overview of President Trump’s Energy Independence Executive Order
President Trump and four executives of his administration held a press conference this afternoon in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA’s”) Map Room. Rick Perry (Secretary of Energy), Ryan Zinke (Secretary of Interior), Scott Pruitt (EPA Administrator), and Vice President Michael Pence provided opening remarks, flanked by coal mining representatives. Secretary Perry started by noting it…
February 17, 2017 marked the deadline by which legislators had to introduce bills for the first half of the 2017-2018 Legislative Session. The Stoel Rives’ Energy Team has been and will continue to monitor bills throughout the two-year session and will provide periodic updates as to the status of those bills. Most noteworthy here is SB 584 which would require 100% of all electricity sold in California at retail to be generated by eligible renewable energy resources by December 31, 2045. A summary of SB 584 is provided below, in addition to the status and summary of other energy related bills Stoel Rives is monitoring, starting with a set of bills related to energy storage.
Please also reference our Oil & Gas post summarizing bills related to oil and gas law here.
SB 584 (De León). California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program.
Under existing law, the California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) has regulatory authority over public utilities, including electrical corporations, while local publicly owned electric utilities, as defined, are under the direction of their governing boards. The California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program requires the CPUC to establish a renewables portfolio standard requiring all retail sellers, as defined, to procure a minimum quantity of electricity products from eligible renewable energy resources, as defined, so that the total kilowatt-hours of those products sold to their retail end-use customers achieves 25% of retail sales by December 31, 2016, 33% by December 31, 2020, 40% by December 31, 2024, 45% by December 31, 2027, and 50% by December 31, 2030. The program additionally requires each local publicly owned electric utility, as defined, to procure a minimum quantity of electricity products from eligible renewable energy resources to achieve the procurement requirements established by the program. The Legislature has separately declared that its intent in implementing the program is to attain, among other targets for sale of eligible renewable resources, the target of 50% of total retail sales of electricity by December 31, 2030. This bill would revise those legislative findings and declarations to state that the goal of the program is to achieve that 50% target by December 31, 2025, and for all electricity sold at retail to be generated by eligible renewable energy resources by December 31, 2045.
Bills Related to Energy Storage
AB 914 (Mullin, D): Transmission planning: energy storage and demand response.
STATUS: Introduced February 16, 2017; awaiting referral.
Existing law vests the CPUC with jurisdiction over the delivery of electrical services, provides for the establishment of an Independent System Operator (“ISO”) as a nonprofit public benefit corporation and requires the ISO to make certain filings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) and to seek authority from FERC to give ISO the ability to secure generating and transmission resources necessary to guarantee achievement of planning and operating reserve criteria no less stringent than those established by the Western Electricity Coordinating Council and the North American Electric Reliability Council. If passed, this bill would require the CPUC, in its participation in the ISO’s transmission planning process, to promote the consideration of the use of energy storage systems and demand response as means to address the state’s transmission needs before the use of transmission wires.
AB 1030 (Ting, D): Energy storage systems.
STATUS: Introduced February 16, 2017; awaiting referral.
Existing law requires the CPUC to open a proceeding to determine appropriate targets, if any, for each load-serving entity to procure viable and cost-effective energy storage systems to be achieved by December 31, 2015, and December 31, 2020. If determined to be appropriate, the CPUC is required to adopt the procurement targets and to reevaluate all of these determinations not less than once every three years. AB 1030 would require the CPUC to establish a program to incentivize residential and commercial customers to adopt energy storage systems.
SB 356 (Skinner, D): Energy storage systems.
STATUS: Introduced February 14, 2017; awaiting referral..
Under current law, the CPUC has regulatory authority over public utilities, including electrical corporations. Current law requires the commission to open a proceeding to determine appropriate targets, if any, for each load-serving entity, as defined, to procure viable and cost-effective energy storage systems to be achieved by December 31, 2015, and December 31, 2020. This bill would make a non-substantive change in legislative findings and declarations adopted with the above-described energy storage system requirements.
Today is Commissioner Norman Bay’s last day on the job at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which means that on Monday, FERC will no longer have the quorum of 3 commissioners that is necessary for it to do much of its business. (Two other vacancies have gone unfilled for months.) Earlier today, Acting Chairman…
Following a decision of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released last week that cuts transmission owners’ return on equity (ROE) by more than 200 basis points, ratepayers in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (MISO) footprint will save an estimated $200 million per year.
Spurred by industrial customers’ challenge to MISO’s ROE rate in 2013, FERC ultimately found in its September 28, 2016 order that MISO’s ROE of 12.38% – which had been in place since 2002 – was unjust and unreasonable, and reset it to a base rate of 10.32%. Transmission owners may also qualify for transmission incentive ROE adders, although the maximum ROE rate may not exceed 11.35%. FERC also ordered that refunds be issued on a prospective basis for the period from November 12, 2013 through February 11, 2015.
Continue Reading MISO Transmission Owners’ Return on Equity Cut by FERC