On November 17, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released a new rule proposal that could help push U.S. energy markets to adopt energy storage systems at a faster pace by allowing distributed energy resources (DERs), including batteries, solar panels, and energy demand management software, to compete in wholesale energy markets. To learn more about how this could change U.S. energy markets, read on!

Continue Reading FERC Wants to Open Up Energy Markets to Distributed Energy

Last week, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling affirming that federal regulators may encourage large electricity users to reduce consumption at peak times in exchange for price breaks, a practice known as “demand response.” The 6-2 ruling overturned a federal appeals panel ruling issued last year, and was hailed by environmentalists as a major victory. Demand response promotes electricity conservation and has been heavily supported by the Obama administration. For more on the ruling and what it means for the energy industry, read on.

Continue Reading Supreme Court Affirms FERC Demand Response Authority

In late July, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a ruling to help ISO-New England more effectively manage congestion on its grid due to growing renewable energy generation. Due to the intermittent nature of renewable generation, operators nationwide cannot predict when transmission lines might get overloaded. This can cause generators of renewable power to have to curtail their supply through a cumbersome and inefficient manual system. ISO-NE, having experienced this issue firsthand, appealed to the FERC for approval to upgrade from a manual dispatch to electronic management for wind and hydropower resources. In its ruling, FERC granted ISO-NE permission to use a modified electronic dispatch method called DNE Dispatch Points for wind and hydro resources classified as Intermittent Power Resources – those above 5MW.  FERC required ISO-NE to submit a compliance filing within 30 days, with proposed tariff revisions effective April 2016. For implications and analysis on this change, read on!

Continue Reading Recent FERC Decision Provides Welcome News for Operators, Many Renewable Energy Generators

Congress returns from the Presidents’ Day recess, and energy and climate issues will heat up again this work period as Congress sends the Keystone XL pipeline legislation to President Obama, committees consider fiscal year 2016 spending requests, Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) prepare to introduce a broad energy efficiency package, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee holds a workshop on the Clean Power Plan, all in the midst of a calendar filled with several other issues.

» Read this week’s Energy & Environment Update.

By David Leiter, Sarah Litke, Jean Cornell, Bryan Stockton, Jordan Collins and  Neal Martin

Yesterday the House and Senate failed to pass a continuing resolution that would have averted a government shutdown.  As they enter the new fiscal year without funding, Washington’s federal agencies and departments are grinding to a standstill. According to their contingency plans, the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will all experience furloughs and the halting of programs.  The Department of Energy reported that multi-year and no-year appropriations will sustain certain work through the shutdown.  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which has leftover appropriations, can survive for about a week at relatively normal operations. Continue Reading ML Strategies Weekly Energy and Environment Update – Week of September 30, 2013

By David Leiter, Sarah Litke, Jean Cornell, Bryan Stockton, Jordan Collins and  Neal Martin

The House and Senate chambers, quiet for over a month, resumed regular business today.  ML Strategies has produced a post-Labor Day outlook.  Congress has several issues to address now that it is back in session including the appropriations process, the debt ceiling, the extenders package, and the grand bargain.  Energy and environment issues may crop up as riders to these topics, such as the Keystone XL pipeline and the Renewable Fuel Standard.  The nine major energy issues of note are Shaheen-Portman, the National Helium Reserve, the consideration of the proposed liquefied natural gas export terminals, the Keystone XL pipeline, the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard, the Interior Department’s fracking rule, President Obama’s climate action strategy, Environmental Protection Agency regulations, and the President’s Power Africa initiative.  For a broader overview of the congressional to-do list, please see the attached copy of the ML Strategies Post-Labor Day Preview.  Continue Reading ML Strategies Weekly Energy and Environment Update – Week of September 9, 2013

Written by Bruce D. Sokler, Helen J. Kim and Shoshana S. Speiser

The filed rate doctrine precludes antitrust challenges to rates set or approved by federal agencies. The doctrine is broadly applied and covers, for example, wholesale electricity rates that are filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or the Commission), even in circumstances where the claimant alleges that the rates were initially set in a fraudulent or improper manner. Square D Co. v. Niagara Frontier Tariff Bureau, Inc., 476 U.S. 577 (1981). On September 20, 2012, the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a complaint alleging collusion between two rival New York City electricity producers — defendants KeySpan Corp. (KeySpan) and Astoria Generating Company (Astoria) — and facilitation of anticompetitive conduct by an affiliate of the financial firm Morgan Stanley. Simon v. KeySpan Corp., et al., No. 11-2265-cv, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 19815 (2nd Cir. Sep. 20, 2012). The Court held that the filed rate doctrine can apply even where the allegedly supracompetitive rate was the product of a market-based auction. Id. at 30 (declining to set a per se rule, but applying the doctrine because “the regulator created a process for setting rates, reviewed the resulting rates, and, after investigation, determined that the anticompetitive behavior did not undermine its process and that the resulting rates were reasonable.”). The Court also found that the plaintiff, an indirect purchaser of electricity, lacked standing. Continue Reading Second Circuit Applies the Filed Rate Doctrine to Electricity Rates Set by Market-Based Auctions