Nicholas Gladd

Massachusetts Legislature Moves Forward with Reforms that Would Reshape the Energy Sectors to Achieve Climate and Economic Development Goals

On April 7, 2022, Massachusetts Senate Ways and Means Committee issued its response to an earlier House Ways and Means Bill (House No. 4524).  The Senate bill, Senate No. 2819, revised a number of features of the earlier House bill with respect to the Commonwealth’s procurement of offshore wind energy, but also addressed a range of issues focused upon climate matters.  The Senate bill also included a range of provisions to advance electric vehicles, other forms of renewable energy, real estate development that advances climate goals and fundamentally alter consumers’ options by eliminating the competitive retail electricity supply market and decarbonizing the natural gas industry, as summarized below.

What’s next?  We understand that the Senate will be taking amendments to the bill during the next few days and that the Senate will likely adopt a form of Senate No. 2819 later this month.  The House will likely adopt a different version of the bill, resulting in the establishment of a conference committee to work out the

DER Aggregations in RTO/ISO Markets: An Update on FERC Order No. 2222 Compliance and Implementation

In September of 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or “Commission”) issued Order No. 2222,[1] requiring Regional Transmission Organizations (“RTOs”) and Independent System Operators (“ISOs”) to adopt rules allowing aggregations of distributed energy resources (“DERs”) to participate in the RTO/ISO-administered wholesale electricity markets.  Now, a year-and-a-half later, the compliance process for each RTO and ISO is ongoing, the proposed implementation timelines for the market rules vary widely, and numerous legal and technical challenges remain to be resolved. Below is an overview of the current status of RTO/ISO efforts to implement Order No. 2222, certain related industry activities, and various implementation challenges that have come to the fore through those market design efforts.

Background

FERC issued Order No. 2222 to “remove barriers” to DER aggregations’ participation in RTO/ISO markets, and to help ensure that the RTO/ISO markets produce just and reasonable rates as required by the Federal Power Act.  Under FERC’s definition, DERs are “any resource located on the

Update: FERC Commissioners Vote Unanimously to Revise Pipeline Certificate and GHG Emission Policy Statements

Industries:

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has reached consensus to revise the two policy statements it issued on February 18, 2022, impacting the permitting and construction of new natural gas pipeline facilities

During the March 24, 2022 FERC open meeting, Chairman Glick explained that the new order will:

  • Change the status of both policy statements to be “draft” policy statements
  • Reopen the comment period for both draft policy statements so that the Commission can re-engage with stakeholders and further develop the record
  • Further develop the record, and revise both policy statements to make them applicable only prospectively to any pipeline certificate applications that are filed subsequent to the issuance of any final versions of the policy statements.

Currently-pending certificate applications will be reviewed pursuant to the Commission’s 1999 Policy Statement  and relevant FERC and judicial precedent.  Although the vote was unanimous, each of the Commissioners indicated that they intend to issue separate statements explaining their

Amidst Ongoing Policy Statement Controversy, D.C. Circuit Remands Another FERC Pipeline Order Over GHG Analysis

Once again finding the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“FERC” or “Commission”) environmental assessment (“EA”) analysis of the downstream effect of greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions associated with interstate natural gas pipelines and liquefied natural gas terminals certificated pursuant to the Natural Gas Act (“NGA”) legally insufficient, on March 11, 2022, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a remand directing FERC to consider the reasonably foreseeable indirect effects of burning natural gas as the result of a pipeline expansion project.  The court directed FERC to consider such indirect downstream impacts on remand and to prepare a conforming EA, but declined to vacate the FERC’s orders. Food & Water Watch and Berkshire Environmental Action Team v. FERC, No. 20-1132 (Mar. 11, 2022) (“Food & Water Watch”).  Food & Water Watch, authored by Chief Judge Srinivasan and joined by Judges Millett and Katsas, appears to provide further support for some of the reasoning provided by

Contentious Senate Committee Hearing Highlights the Politically-Charged Nature of FERC’s Recent Pipeline Policy Statements

The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee held a hearing today to question Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Richard Glick and Commissioners Allison Clements, Mark Christie, James Danly, and Willie Phillips about FERC’s two recent policy statements regarding natural gas certificates.  Those two policy statements, each of which were issued by 3-2 vote with Commissioners Christie and Danly dissenting with separate statements, were issued on February 18, 2022 and are the subject of a separate Pierce Atwood blog post. Members of the Pierce Atwood Energy team watched the livestream video of the Senate hearing, and, in this post, provide some high-level insights based on the Senators’ questions and Commissioners’ responses today.

To no one’s surprise, the hearing was a politically-charged event. With one notable exception, the participating Senators’ response to FERC’s actions was split along party lines, with Democrats generally supporting the policy statements and Republicans criticizing the policy statements with openly expressed dismay and frustration.  The FERC Commissioners’

FERC Issues Two Controversial Policy Statements on Natural Gas Infrastructure

Industries:

On February 18, 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or the “Commission”) issued two controversial policy statements that will significantly impact the permitting and construction of new natural gas pipeline facilities.  The policy statements were each approved by a 3-2 majority with Commissioners Danly and Christie issuing separate dissents.

The Updated Policy Statement on Certification of New Interstate Natural Gas Facilities (“Updated Policy Statement”) revises FERC’s 1999 Certificate Policy Statement to give environmental analysis and policy, including environmental justice, a greater role in determining whether FERC should approve new natural gas transportation facilities as consistent with the “public convenience and necessity” under Section 7 of the Natural Gas Act (“NGA”).  A companion Interim Policy Statement on the Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Natural Gas Infrastructure Project Reviews (“GHG Policy Statement”) seeks to explain how FERC will assess the impacts of natural gas infrastructure projects on climate change in its reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) and the NGA.