Two ISOs, CAISO and NYISO, filed their Order No. 2222 compliance filings in July, as they had largely already had DER aggregation programs even before the effective date of the Final Rule. Their filings garnered relatively few protests, which is not surprising as they only made minor modifications to their existing programs. But, their
Who Needs to Submit a Baseline: As November 2, 2021 looms (and is far scarier than Halloween), owners of QFs and DERs may be thinking, “what me worry?” But the looming due date for Order No. 860 baseline submissions can impact some QFs and some DERs. Although it is perhaps almost too late for those subject to, but unaware of their obligations to, make timely Order No. 860 submissions, steps can be taken now by those QFs and DERs with market based-rate (MBR) authority.
For a variety of reasons, some QFs have MBR authority: they may no longer sell under PURPA and are too large to be exempt from FPA Section 205 regulation; they may have MBR authority as a safety measure in case they fall out of QF compliance; they may be concerned about losing QF status due to changes in the 1-mile rule; among other reasons. As to DERs, while many DERs are renewables and sized to be exempt from FPA Section 205 regulation and thus Order No. 860, some DERs, such as in front of the meter, stand-alone storage, will be “Sellers” with Order No. 860 obligations. Determining if a QF or DER has an Order No. 860 obligation is simple, does the entity that owns/controls the asset have an MBR Tariff on file? If yes, an Order No. 860 baseline obligation exists, even if the entity has never made a sale subject to FPA Section 205 regulation. FERC keeps a list of entities with MBR on this page (look at right side of page for link to “Electric Utilities With Approved Market-Based Rate Authority (Includes Contact Information)”).
For those QFs/DERs who belatedly realize that they have an Order No. 860 obligation, if they cannot gather the data required by Order No. 860 and learn how to submit it in a matter of two weeks, an extension request may be an option. Some QFs, particularly those whose sales are all exempt under 18 C.F.R. Section 292.601, may want to reconsider whether they need MBR authority at all and seek to cancel their MBR Tariffs effective on or before November 1, 2021. Although, such Seller may be technically out of compliance with Order No. 860, as long as the Commission grants the cancellation date, FERC may choose not to demand compliance between November 2nd and the effective date of the cancellation. (This option applies to anyone with an unnecessary or unused MBR Tariff.) Other Order No. 860 issues relating to QFs and DERs are discussed below.
Continue Reading Order No. 860: QFs and Distributed Energy Resources
In Order No. 2003, FERC adopted a very clear policy – that if a vertically-integrated transmission provider charged its OATT customers for reactive power from its own generating fleet under OATT Schedule 2, it had to allow other generators in its BAA (f/k/a control area) to be compensated for reactive power as well. This meant merchant and public power (non-jurisdictional) generators could file seek reactive compensation, regardless of the transmission provider’s need for additional reactive power. Implementation of the policy was not quite so simple because not all transmission providers were vertically-integrated. RTOs/ISOs had to make their own decisions as to whether generators would be compensated for reactive power. Some RTOs/ISOs decided any generator could obtain compensation (e.g., PJM); some decided no generator could (e.g., CAISO). In any case, the question arises what does eligibility for reactive power compensation have to do with a PURPA and DER blog? The subject is relevant because FERC has yet to provide clear answers in all cases as to QF and DER eligibility for reactive compensation.
Continue Reading Reactive Power Sales: QFs and Distributed Energy Resources
In a case involving Allco, a frequent plaintiff in state and federal PURPA litigation, a state’s adoption of an alternative PURPA program was challenged. Vermont is a state with multiple PURPA programs, a situation FERC has held is perfectly reasonable. Parsing the existing FERC holdings on multiple programs, having two different PURPA programs is acceptable…
In the past few months there have been a few events that merit a word, but few true surprises. It has become clear that there will be significant delays in the implementation of DER aggregation in some ISO/RTO regions. The complexities of aggregation are numerous and it appears that various regions will adopt a variety of approaches. Perhaps one of the most crucial topics will be the maximum size of a single DER in an aggregation, which may vary widely among regions. One minor surprise of the last few months may be the ease with which utilities seeking relief from the PURPA must-purchase obligation from 5 MW – 20 MW small power production facilities have been obtaining such relief. The relief has come easily due to a near total lack of protests of filing seeking relief.
As to specific DER/PURPA matters that have occurred at FERC over the last few months:…
Continue Reading Catching Up on Recent DER/PURPA Events at FERC
It has been more than a month since FERC proposed eliminating the state opt-out with regard to retail customer participation in demand response programs in organized wholesale markets. In its NOPR, Participation of Aggregators of Retail Demand Response Customers in Markets Operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators, FERC proposed elimination of the state opt-out. In the concurrently issued Order No. 2222-A, FERC set aside its earlier finding that the participation of demand response in distributed energy resource aggregations is subject to the opt-out and opt-in requirements of Order Nos. 719 and 719-A. Those states that had opted out are none too pleased, as evidenced by NARUC’s rehearing request filed in response to Order No. 2222-A. The NOPR certainly will draw objections. In contrast, demand response supporters have sought clarification of Order No. 2222-A to ensure that “double counting” does not occur when a DER demand response resource is compensated for acting as a provider of a service, whether procured on a forward-looking basis or in real-time, and reduces an end-use customer’s load on the bulk power system, resulting in retail savings for the customer. These entities seek assurance that a behind-the-meter DER providing wholesale demand response service through serving is own on-site load be compensated at full LMP under Order No. 745.
FERC will certainly defend its change in position based on its view that “the terms of wholesale market participation are a matter under exclusive Commission jurisdiction,” such that its orders “do not infringe upon or otherwise diminish state authority.” It would appear that Order No. 2222-A and the effectively pre-ordained outcome of the new NOPR, would be the death knell of the state opt-out. The question raised here is, does it have to be?
Continue Reading The Death of the Demand Response Opt-Out?
FERC’s decision in Broadview Solar, LLC (discussed here) couldn’t even make it to its first birthday before FERC said “never mind,” that such decision was a mistake. Reversing the reasoning of its earlier order, FERC held in its order addressing arguments on rehearing that a 160 MW solar facility with a 50 MW battery could qualify as a small power production qualifying facility (SPP QF), so long as the facility’s “net output to the electric utility (i.e., at the point of interconnection), taking into account all components necessary to produce electric energy in a form useful to an interconnected entity,” was 80 MW or less. The Commission’s rationale largely mirrored the arguments put forth in dissent to the original order by then-Commissioner, now-Chairman, Glick. But the rehearing order still did not address important considerations in evaluating compliance with PURPA’s 80 MW limit, and (like the original order) drew a dissent. It is doubtful that the new order will be the last we hear on this issue, although any load serving entity challenging the new order (or the policy, if and when applied to them in an analogous order), will need an appellate panel of strict statutory constructionists.
Continue Reading In Broadview “Rehearing” Order, FERC Channels Emily Litella: “Never Mind”
This post updates the most recent post regarding initial state and federal proceedings that were initiated in light of Order No. 872.
Post-Order No. 872 Requests for Relief from the PURPA Purchase Mandate
Given the paucity of actual or potential QFs in the relevant service areas of ETEC and NTEC, and thus an absence of protests, these entities, who led the pack in submitting the first QM filing under Order No. 872, rather quickly obtained the requested relief. Since their filing, a few more applications have been submitted and certainly more are expected soon. Not surprisingly, many of the earliest filers had relatively few existing or queued potential QFs. No protest has been filed in any QM docket to date.
Continue Reading Order No. 872-Related FERC and State Proceedings Initiated in Its Initial Months of Effectiveness
Now that Order No. 872 has been effective for a few weeks, the first few proceedings that will inform its implementation have commenced. More such proceedings will certainly be initiated in next few months.
Continue Reading Order No. 872-Related FERC and State Proceedings Initiated in Its Initial Weeks of Effectiveness
Last week, FERC issued Order No. 872-A, its “further guidance order” on the PURPA Reform Final Rule. Appeals of Order No. 872 are pending at the Ninth Circuit, with the first appeal being held in abeyance until no later than early January 2021. Given the relatively few changes to the Final Rule, this order may close the relevant docket at FERC, for now. Whether some portions of the Final Rule will be remanded or even vacated is difficult to predict at this early stage, and may well depend on the judicial panel. Of the clarifications issued, only one was particularly significant – the affirmation of CARE v. CPUC on tiered avoided cost rates. Both that clarification and the few other changes and clarifications indicate that the degree to which the Final Rule will alter the PURPA landscape is largely dependent on state and FERC implementation of the new policies and regulations adopted. The clarifications/modifications adopted by FERC are discussed below.
Continue Reading FERC’s PURPA Reform Rule: Order No. 872-A’s Few Clarifications and Modifications Continue to Indicate that FERC and the States Will Have Significant Discretion in Implementing PURPA