FERC approves PJM rate increase
Rejecting assertions that the PJM Interconnection LLC has not done enough to control costs, FERC on Dec. 22 authorized the grid operator to boost the stated rates it charges customers to cover its administrative expenses. In doing so, FERC found that PJM has implemented cost-reduction measures and noted that the grid operator's tariff requires all amounts collected in excess of what is needed to cover actual expenses and maintain a reasonable reserve to be refunded.
EPA fires back at new source rule litigants' 'crystal ball inquiry'
Donald Trump's election win is not a good enough reason to delay a legal review of carbon emissions performance standards for new fossil fuel power plants, according to the U.S. EPA. The agency voiced that opinion in response to a request from those challenging the new source rule for a pause in the litigation to give the new Trump administration time to review the rule once the president-elect takes office.
FERC watchdog role likely unchanged under Trump
Former FERC enforcement officials are not expecting the change in presidential administration to greatly impact the commission's watchdog role, but new commissioners could bring nuanced views of what constitutes market manipulation. Bob Pease said that in his 22 years as FERC's director of investigations, he served under a number of Republican chairmen of the commission and not once did he feel hamstrung in his duties.
Mich. regulators initiate proceeding to evaluate Palisades nuke closure
The Michigan Public Service Commission has requested information from Consumers Energy Co. on its decision to end early its power purchase contract with Entergy Corp.'s Palisades nuclear plant. The PSC in a Dec. 20 order requested nine items, some of which focused on replacement generation. The three-person commission directed Consumers Energy to describe any alternatives considered to ending the power purchase agreement in 2018 for the output of the 811-MW plant, operated by Entergy Nuclear Inc.
Dynegy, ECP file plan to address market power resulting from Engie deal
Just days after FERC conditionally approved its plan to purchase several thousand megawatts of mostly natural gas-fired generating plants in the U.S. from Engie, Atlas Power Finance LLC, a joint venture of Dynegy Inc. and Energy Capital Partners LLC, filed a proposal for addressing any market power concerns stemming from the transaction.
Massachusetts forges ahead with plans for an energy storage mandate
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's administration has decided to move forward with plans to implement a possible 600-MW energy storage mandate by 2025 for merchant utilities within the state. The Department of Energy Resources, or DOER, has deemed that it is "prudent for the Commonwealth to set targets for energy storage systems," according to a Dec. 27 letter from DOER Commissioner Judith Judson that was sent to state lawmakers.
DC Circuit ties up loose ends in MACT rule legal challenge
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has agreed to remand an emissions performance standard for certain industrial boilers back to the EPA so the agency can review a calculation that was deemed to be flawed. The EPA in September asked the court for a remand of the boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology standard, or MACT rule, a request that was supported by the other parties to the case.
Mass. attorney general seeks inquiry into rate-setting process
Massachusetts' Attorney General wants regulators to investigate and explain why ratepayers in the state are paying more for energy than the rest of New England even as utility companies' allowed profits continue to rise. State Attorney General Maura Healey in a letter called on the Department of Public Utilities to launch a "comprehensive and public review of utilities' allowed profits and to bring more clarity and openness to the rate-setting process."
Nev. PUC reopens solar net metering in northern Nevada
Nevada utility regulators took an unusual step toward reversing their prior decision-making on net energy metering of rooftop solar customers by reopening NEM to customers in Sierra Pacific Power Co.'s service territory. The Public Utilities Commission on Dec. 22 ordered the reopening, starting Jan. 1, 2017, of 6 MW of installed capacity for rooftop solar systems under prior net energy metering terms and rates for customers of the NV Energy Inc. subsidiary in northern Nevada who wish to install new solar systems.