Category Archives: Energy

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FERC’s Near-Term Electricity Menu: Actively Exploring and Tinkering

FERC has an active near-term agenda addressing important electrical issues through upcoming technical conferences, Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR), and Notices of Inquiry (NOI).  We provide below a brief “menu” of these noteworthy conferences, rulemakings, and inquiries that will influence project development, energy pricing, and ancillary services. Project Development and Access Conference: Review of Generator … Continue Reading

Does FERC’s Denial of Authority to Construct Jordan Cove Signal a More Rigorous Test for Future LNG Projects?

On March 11, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied an application by Jordan Cove Energy Project, L.P. (Jordan Cove) for authority under Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) to site, construct, and operate a facility at Coos Bay, Oregon, for the exportation, principally to Asia, of liquefied natural gas (LNG). In … Continue Reading

New York Environmental Regulator Proposes Major Overhaul of Solid Waste Regulations

On Monday, Feb. 29, 2016, the New York Governor announced that the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) was proposing new regulations for the handling of solid waste.  The proposed changes to the solid waste regulations contained in Parts 360, 364, and 369 seek to reorganize and rationalize the muddled set of regulations created … Continue Reading

Private Rights of Action for Exempt Energy Transactions: the CFTC EEMAC Committee Meeting

From Greg Lawrence of GT Boston and Harris Kay of GT Chicago: On May 19, 2015, the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued a proposed order exempting certain categories of Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (SPP) electric energy transactions from all but the antifraud and anti-manipulation provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) (the … Continue Reading

California Public Utilities Commission’s Successor Net Metering Decision and Trends in Rate-Making

On January 28, 2016, by a 3-2 vote, the California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) agreed to extend California’s net metering program. The CPUC’s decision rejected proposals by three of the state’s major utilities (Pacific Gas &Electric Co., San Diego Gas & Electric Co., and Southern California Edison) to decrease the financial credit received by eligible … Continue Reading

Bipartisan Coalition Asks Supreme Court to Halt EPA Power Plan

A bipartisan coalition of 29 states and state agencies filed an application with the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday to immediately halt the Obama Administration’s power plan while litigation continues in the D.C. Circuit Court.   The application for immediate stay of the final EPA rule imposing far-reaching climate rules for power plants was filed by the … Continue Reading

How Cos. Can Fight Back Against Inferential Statistics

In an environmental contamination case involving the gasoline additive MTBE, the New Hampshire Supreme Court recently affirmed a trial court jury award of $236 million, based largely on statistical inferences by experts.   In short, the trial court allowed the plaintiffs to use extrapolated statistics to (1) hypothesize the existence of several thousand sites, (2) estimate … Continue Reading

CFTC Settles with Total Gas for Attempted Market Manipulation, And What Says FERC Enforcement?

From Douglas M. Grom, Harris L. Kay, and Gregory K. Lawrence: On Dec. 8, 2015 States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that it had simultaneously filed and settled charges against Total Gas & Power North America, Inc. (Total Gas) and Therese Tran (Tran), for violations of Section 6(c) and 9(a)(2) of the Commodity Exchange … Continue Reading

Navigating Legal Implications of Power Industry Regulations

I participated in a Power Magazine legal issues conference on December 7th in Las Vegas entitled, “Navigating Legal Implications of Power Industry Regulations.”  My presentation focused on the “nuts and bolts” of  preparing a State Plan under section 111(d) of the CAA and on what utilities should be doing with respect to State Plans while … Continue Reading

James Bacchus Featured in Bloomberg Business of Law’s “The Lawyers Who Trekked to Paris for Climate Change Talks”

Political leaders are not the only ones in attendance at the 21st annual meeting of the “Conference of the Parties” (COP 21), taking place Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 in Paris. The conference is expecting roughly 45,000 participants, including many representatives from big U.S. law firms. While many attendees are not participating in the actual … Continue Reading

New rules governing communications with certain Mexican government officials

This GT Alert provides information regarding the publication of the General Guidelines for government officials that participate in government contracts and issuance of licenses, permits, authorizations and concessions. The federal government in light of certain recent events in Mexico is trying to reduce conflicts of interest and corruption in connection with government contracts, licenses, permits … Continue Reading

FERC Assesses Penalties for Alleged No-Risk UTC Trading Against City Power and Its Founder

Earlier this month, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an Order Assessing Civil Penalties against City Power Marketing, LLC (City Power) and its founder and sole owner, K. Stephen Tsingas[1] (collectively, Respondents)  for violating section 222 of the Federal Power Act (FPA) and section 1c.2 of the Commission’s regulations, which prohibit energy market manipulation.[2] … Continue Reading

FERC’s Reaction to CEQ’s Greenhouse Gas Guidance: For Now, Business as Usual

On June 23, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an Order Denying Rehearing of its earlier April 6, 2015 order, authorizing Sabine Pass Liquefaction, LLC to construct and operate natural gas liquefaction export facilities. The order is noteworthy for the Commission’s response to the arguments made by the Sierra Club that the Commission failed … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Reverses and Remands MATS to D.C. Circuit for EPA Failure to Consider Costs

In a 5 to 4 split decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday, June 29th, that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) unreasonably interpreted the federal Clean Air Act (“CAA”) when EPA decided deemed that costs were irrelevant in deciding whether to regulate hazardous air emissions from electric utility sources under section 112 of … Continue Reading

Performance Enhancement: FERC Approves Significant Restructuring of PJM’s Capacity Market

On June 9, 2015, theFederal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) conditionally approved significant reforms to PJM’s capacity market, implementing the Capacity Performance Resource product, with PJM’s compliance filing due within 30 days. [1]   FERC found such reforms were necessary to address “the confluence of changes in the PJM markets, including both recent performance issues…impacted by … Continue Reading

Performance Enhancement: FERC Approves Significant Restructuring of PJM’s Capacity Market

On June 9, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) conditionally approved significant reforms to PJM’s capacity market, implementing the Capacity Performance Resource product, with PJM’s compliance filing due within 30 days.1 FERC found such reforms were necessary to address “the confluence of changes in the PJM markets, including both recent performance issues…impacted by inadequate … Continue Reading

May 2015 Brings a Crop of FERC ‘Loophole’ Manipulation Civil Penalty Assessments

In May, two “loophole” penalty orders were issued regarding recent fraud and manipulation investigations conducted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Office of Enforcement (OE), which are discussed below. What will June bring? To start, on June 3, the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power heard testimony, including from … Continue Reading

EPA Decision Impacts Back-Up Generators

In a decision issued on May 1, the DC Circuit vacated a U.S. EPA rule that allowed backup generators to operate up to 100 hours/year without emission controls as part of so-called emergency power demand/response programs intended to address short-term capacity shortfalls in the electrical grid.  Delaware DNREC v. EPA, No. 13-1093, (D.C. Cir. May 1, 2015).  … Continue Reading

New York Clears the Way for Permitting LNG-Refueling Stations

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced on January 28, 2015 that it has finalized a new regulatory regime to allow the construction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) refueling stations in all parts of the State except for New York City.  Under the agency’s final Part 570 regulations, the facilities would be … Continue Reading

The Debate Over Florida’s First Commercial Waste-to-Energy Incinerator in 2 Decades

Palm Beach County will soon commence operations of the nation’s first commercial waste-to-energy trash incinerator in 20 years.  The $670 million incinerator, located immediately north of the Solid Waste Authority’s existing facility on Jog Road, will combust approximately 3,000 tons of material per day.  The source of fuel will be tires, wood, automobile remnants, and residential … Continue Reading

Valuation of Distributed Solar

Powering your home with clean energy generated from the solar panels on your roof and selling the excess energy to the utility are appealing prospects to those attuned to environmental, energy efficiency, and self-sufficiency considerations. It is not hard to see why solar distributed generation (“DG”) has moved into the social and political electricity spotlight … Continue Reading

EPA Delays Finalization of 2014 Renewable Fuel Standards

Last Friday, November 21, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) said it will defer its 2014 applicable percentage standards under the Renewable Fuel Standard program. The proposed standards rule, issued by EPA in November 2013, requires U.S. refiners to add 15.2 billion gallons of renewable fuels to the nation’s fuel supply in 2014. EPA noted … Continue Reading
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