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Summary of FERC Meeting Agenda for May 2022

Below are summaries of the agenda items for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's May 19, 2022 open meeting, pursuant to the sunshine notice released on May 12, 2022.

In this issue…

  • Electric Items
  • Miscellaneous Items
  • Gas Items
  • Hydro Items
  • Certificate Items

 

Electric

E-1 – Managing Transmission Line Ratings (Docket No. RM20-16-001). On December 16, 2021, the Commission issued pursuant to section 206 of the Federal Power Act (FPA) Order No. 881 adopting reforms to the pro forma Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT) and the Commission's regulations to improve the accuracy and transparency of electric transmission line ratings used by transmission providers. More specifically, in Order No. 881, amongst other things, the Commission adopted its proposal to define a transmission line rating as "the maximum transfer capability of a transmission line, computed in accordance with a written transmission line rating methodology and consistent with Good Utility Practice, considering the technical limitations on conductors and relevant transmission equipment (such as thermal flow limits), as well as technical limitations of the Transmission System (such as system voltage and stability limits)." Order No. 811 found that transmission line ratings and the rules by which they are established are practices that directly affect the cost of wholesale energy, capacity, and ancillary services, as well as the cost of delivering wholesale energy to transmission customers, and that inaccurate transmission line ratings result in Commission-jurisdictional rates that are unjust and unreasonable. Numerous parties filed requests for rehearing and/or clarification of Order No. 881. Agenda item E-1 may be an order on the requests for rehearing and/or clarification of Order No. 881.

E-2 – Omitted

E-3 – Uniper Global Commodities North America LLC (Docket No. ER21-62-000). On October 7, 2020, Uniper Global Commodities North America, LLC (Uniper) submitted a cost justification filing regarding certain spot market sales transactions that exceeded the $1,000/MWh cost-cap in Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) outside of the California Independent System Operator Corporation (CAISO) area, in accordance with the Commission's August 31, 2020 order in Docket No EL10-56. On June 17, 2021, the Commission issued an order providing guidance on cost justification filings pending before the Commission, including the October 7 filing by Uniper. On July 19, 2021, Uniper filed a supplement to its October 7 cost justification filing in accordance with the Commission's directives in the June 17 order. Agenda item E-3 may be an order relating to Uniper's cost justification filings.

E-4 – Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc. (Docket No. ER21-65-000). On October 7, 2020, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc. (Tri-State) submitted a cost justification filing regarding certain spot market sales transactions that exceeded the $1,000/MWh cost-cap in WECC outside of the CAISO area, in accordance with the Commission's August 31, 2020 order in Docket No EL10-56. On June 17, 2021, the Commission issued an order providing guidance on cost justification filings pending before the Commission, including the October 7 filing by Tri-State. On July 19, 2021, Tri-State filed an amended cost justification filing in accordance with the Commission's directives in the June 17 order. Agenda item E-4 may be an order relating to Tri-State's cost justification filings.

E-5 – Brookfield Renewable Trading and Marketing LP (Docket Nos. ER21-59-000 & ER21-59-001). On October 7, 2020, Brookfield Renewable Trading and Marketing LP (Brookfield) submitted a cost justification filing regarding certain spot market sales transactions that exceeded the $1,000/MWh cost-cap in WECC outside of the CAISO area, in accordance with the Commission's August 31, 2020 order in Docket No EL10-56. On June 17, 2021, the Commission issued an order providing guidance on cost justification filings pending before the Commission, including the October 7 filing by Brookfield. On July 19, 2021, Brookfield filed a supplemental cost justification filing in accordance with the Commission's directives in the June 17 order. Agenda item E-5 may be an order relating to Brookfield's cost justification filings.

E-6 – Macquarie Energy LLC (Docket No. ER21-64-000). On October 7, 2020, Macquarie Energy LLC (Macquarie) submitted a cost justification filing regarding certain spot market sales transactions that exceeded the $1,000/MWh cost-cap in WECC outside of the CAISO area, in accordance with the Commission's August 31, 2020 order in Docket No EL10-56. On June 17, 2021, the Commission issued an order providing guidance on cost justification filings pending before the Commission, including the October 7 filing by Macquarie. On July 19, 2021, Macquarie filed a supplemental cost justification filing in accordance with the Commission's directives in the June 17 order. Agenda item E-6 may be an order relating to Macquarie's cost justification filings.

E-7 – California Independent System Operator Corporation (Docket No. ER22-1246-000). On March 10, 2022, California Independent System Operator Corporation (CAISO) submitted tariff amendment to increase the existing scheduling parameter values associated with intertie transmission constraint relaxation in both the residual unit commitment (RUC) and real-time market (RTM), requesting an effective date of June 1, 2022. Agenda item E-7 may be an order approving CAISO's tariff amendment.

E-8 – Board of Trustees of Michigan State University (Docket No. QF21-222-002). On February 24, 2022, the Board of Trustees of Michigan State University (Michigan State) filed an updated Form 556 for review and approval of the updated status of Michigan State's cogeneration unit based upon recent and upcoming changes to the T.B. Simon Power Plant. On February 25, 2022, Michigan State filed a supplemental cover letter to highlight its answer contained in its, question 1m of its Form 556, regarding appropriate waivers. Michigan State respectfully requested that the Commission recognize its previous exemption from its Order in Docket Nos. EL21-50-000 and QF21-222-001, that Michigan State is a branch of the state government pursuant to Mich. Const. 1963, Art. VIII, § 5, and is therefore exempt from the filing fee otherwise required pursuant to 18 C.F.R. § 381.108. Agenda item E-8 may be an order on Michigan State's updated Form 556 filing.

E-9 – Alabama Power Company (Docket No. ER22-476-001). On February 18, 2022, Energy Alabama, Sierra Club, South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Southface Energy Institute, Inc., Vote Solar, Georgia Interfaith Power and Light, Partnership for Southern Equity, North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, Sustainable FERC Project, Natural Resources Defense Council, Advanced Energy Economy, Clean Energy Buyers Association, and Solar Energy Industries Association (collectively, the Rehearing Parties) submitted a Request for Rehearing of the Commission's January 21, 2022 Order Accepting certain tariffs revisions and a revised Southeast Energy Exchange Market (SEEM) Market Agreement and Market Rules (SEEM Agreement). The Rehearing Parties argued that the Commission erred by limiting the scope of the FPA Section 205 inquiry to consider only the "justness and reasonableness of the existing provisions" of the SEEM Agreement. The Rehearing Parties also argued that the January 21 order also improperly applied the Mobile-Sierra Protection to the SEEM Agreement. On March 21, 2022, the Commission issued a Notice of Denial of Rehearing by Operation of Law and Providing for Further Consideration. Agenda item E-9 may be an order on the rehearing request.

E-10 – Grand River Dam Authority (Docket No. EL22-44-000). The formal record in Docket No. EL22-44-000 has not yet been populated. Agenda item E-10 may be an action that is being taken sua sponte by the Commission, such as the initiation of an investigation pursuant to section 206 of the Federal Power Act (FPA).

E-11 – Lincoln Electric System (Docket No. EL22-45-000). The formal record in Docket No. EL22-45-000 has not yet been populated. Agenda item E-11 may be an action that is being taken sua sponte by the Commission, such as the initiation of an investigation pursuant to section 206 of the Federal Power Act (FPA).

E-12 – Nebraska Public Power District (Docket No. EL22-46-000). The formal record in Docket No. EL22-46-000 has not yet been populated. Agenda item E-12 may be an action that is being taken sua sponte by the Commission, such as the initiation of an investigation pursuant to section 206 of the Federal Power Act (FPA).

E-13 – Omaha Public Power District (Docket No. EL22-47-000). The formal record in Docket No. EL22-47-000 has not yet been populated. Agenda item E-13 may be an action that is being taken sua sponte by the Commission, such as the initiation of an investigation pursuant to section 206 of the Federal Power Act (FPA).

E-14 – Omitted

E-15 – GridLiance High Plains LLC (Docket No. EC22-24-000). On December 10, 2021, GridLiance High Plains LLC (GridLiance HP) submitted an application, pursuant to section 203 of the FPA, for authorization of the disposition of jurisdictional facilities resulting from a transaction. The application seeks approval of the sale of certain existing transmission lines, within the Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (SPP) balancing authority, to the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission (MJMEUC). On January 3, 2022, the ARKMO Cities filed a limited protest of the section 203 application, stating that the transfer is not at issue, but rather than representations and calculations that presume an allocation of all costs of the MJMEUC annual transmission revenue requirement (ATRR) associated with certain assets into SPP. ARKO Cities assert that the zonal placement and cost allocation of the ATRR of those assets is subject to ongoing litigation in a separate proceeding at the Commission, and therefore, no prejudgment or ruling should be rendered on the matter until that docket is resolved. On January 4, 2022, MJMEUC filed an answer to the ARKMO Cities limited protest, stating that there is no basis to claim that a change in ownership could result in a change in the zonal placement decision, and consequently, there is no substantive conflict in proceeding with the section 203 application. Agenda item E-15 may be an order on the GridLiance HP application.

E-16 – North American Electric Reliability Corporation (Docket No. RR21-10-000). On September 29, 2021, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and the six Electric Reliability Organization regional entities (collectively, the ERO Enterprise) submitted a petition for approval of revisions to the NERC Rules of Procedure (ROP). The proposed revisions are related to the Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program, the Personnel Certification and Credential Maintenance Program, and the Training and Education Program. Namely, the ERO Enterprise stated that the revisions would enhance the risk-based approach to compliance monitoring and enforcement and to update and clarify certain language in the ROP. The ERO Enterprise proposed refinements to several rules pertaining to Compliance Audits in order to move away from a time-based approach to a risk-based approach that would allow flexibility to account for real-time monitoring. Additionally, the revisions would increase efficiency of resolving minimal risk noncompliance, so that the ERO Enterprise can allocate resources to significant risks while still maintaining visibility into emerging risks and trends that may have less impact to the bulk power system when discovered. Agenda item E-16 may be an order on the proposed revisions to the NERC ROP.

 

Gas

G-1 – Revised Filing and Reporting Requirements for Interstate Natural Gas Company Rate Schedules and Tariffs (Docket No. RM21-18-000). On June 24, 2021, a number of industry groups in the natural gas sector (collectively, Petitioners) filed a petition for rulemaking. Petitioners requested that the Commission update its filing procedures to require the submission of all statements and schedules in native format with all cells, links, and formulas intact under the circumstance of a natural gas company filing a change in rates. Petitioners asserted that, when prior filings have been made in other formats (i.e., not spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel), there is often a delay in the establishment of just and reasonable rates due to the technological hurdle in order to convert the non-native submission into a format that is editable and analyzable. Agenda item G-1 may be an order on the petition.

G-2 – MPLX Ozark Pipe Line LLC (Docket No. OR19-14-000). On December 26, 2018, MPLX Ozark Pipe Line LLC (MPLX Ozark) filed an application seeking market-based ratemaking authority for the transportation of all crude oil (1) from the State of Oklahoma (Origin Market) and (2) to BEA No. 160 (St. Louis BEA). Husky Marketing & Supply Company (Husky) and Phillips 66 Company (Phillips 66, and together with Husky, the Protestors) protested the Application, claiming that MPLX Ozark used an overly broad product market as well as an overly broad geographic market to define the destination market. On June 25, 2019, the Commission issued an order on the protest, finding that MPLX Ozark had provided sufficient evidence in its Application to support a finding that MPLX Ozark lacked market power in the Origin Market. The Commission therefore granted MPLX market-based ratemaking authority in the Origin Market and set for hearing the question of whether MPLX Ozark had the ability to exercise market power in the asserted destination market, the St. Louis BEA. Following a virtual hearing and post-hearing briefing, the Presiding ALJ issued an Initial Decision (ID) on September 25, 2020. Specifically, the ID concluded that the Wood River/Roxana delivery point (Wood River) is the appropriate destination market, found that such market is concentrated, and recommended that the Application be denied. On October 26, 2020, MPLX Ozark and the Protestors filed briefs on exceptions, asserting the ID erred in failing to adopt the respective party's positions with respect to the appropriate geographic market, such party's market power analysis, and other related issues. On November 16, 2020, MPLX Ozark and the Protestors filed briefs opposing one another's briefs on exceptions. Commission staff (Staff) also filed a brief on November 16, 2020, in which Staff opposed certain exceptions filed by MPLX Ozark and the Protestors with respect to Staff's positions on the Application that the ID had adopted. Agenda item G-2 may be an order on the ID.

G-3 – Texas Eastern Transmission, LP (Docket No. RP21-1001-006). On January 20, 2022, the Commission issued an Order on Rehearing and Setting Aside Prior Order, In Part (January 20 Order). In the January 20 Order, the Commission set aside its decision in its August 31, 2021 order (August 31 Order) to reject outright Texas Eastern Transmission, LP's (Texas Eastern) July 30, 2021 rate case filing (Rate Case Filing) (for more information on the Rate Case Filing and the August 31 Order, please refer to our prior article on these topics published on January 19, 2022). The January 20 Order instead accepted and suspended, subject to refund, the proposed rates in the Rate Case Filing, rejected Texas Eastern's proposed 25 percent federal income tax rate, and permitted Texas Eastern to file motion rates using the actual federal income tax rate. Texas Eastern and several intervenors filed requests for rehearing of the January 20 Order. Texas Eastern requested that the Commission either clarify that it had issued the January 20 Order pursuant to its remedial authority under NGA Section 16 to correct its prior legal error, or alternatively grant rehearing and reverse the January 20 Order in part by eliminating the suspension of the filed rates and the related refund obligation. Intervenors requested that the Commission grant rehearing, reverse its determinations in the January 20 Order, and dismiss the Rate Case Filing. Agenda item G-3 may be an order on the requests for rehearing filed by Texas Eastern and the intervenors.

 

Hydro

H-1 – PacifiCorp (Docket No. P-15246-000). On October 13, 2021, PacifiCorp submitted an application for a preliminary permit for the proposed Winter Ridge Pumped Storage Project to be located in Oregon. PacifiCorp stated that the application was filed in order to secure and maintain priority of application for a license pursuant to Part I of the FPA while obtaining the necessary data and analyzing the feasibility of the project. On December 21, 2021, the Commission issued a letter notifying PacifiCorp that the preliminary permit application was accepted. Agenda item H-1 may be an order outlining the environmental review process to go forward with the application.

H-2 – PacifiCorp (Docket No. P-15239-000). On October 13, 2021, PacifiCorp submitted an application for a preliminary permit for the proposed Crooked Creek Pumped Storage Hydropower Project to be located in Oregon. PacifiCorp stated that the application was filed in order to secure and maintain priority of application for a license pursuant to Part I of the FPA while obtaining the necessary data and analyzing the feasibility of the project. On December 21, 2021, the Commission issued a letter notifying PacifiCorp that the preliminary permit application was accepted. Agenda item H-2 may be an order outlining the environmental review process to go forward with the application.

H-3 – NorthWestern Corporation (Docket No. P-2188-259). On November 9, 2021, NorthWestern Energy (NorthWestern) submitted a request for a temporary variance of a provision of the Missouri-Madison Project. NorthWestern stated that, due to drought and snow conditions combined with the requirement to provide pulse flows, the elevation of the Hebgen Reservoir could not be maintained per Article 403 of the project license. The request for a temporary variance is responsive to prior Commission guidance to address how the change in operations affects all license requirements and include consultation with resource agencies. Agenda item H-3 may be an order on the temporary variance request.

 

Certificates

C-1 – Kern River Gas Transmission Company (Docket No. CP21-197-000). On April 23, 2021, Kern River Gas Transmission Company (Kern River) filed an application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) for its Delta Lateral Project. The Delta Lateral Project consists of constructing an approximately 36-mile, 24-inch-diameter pipeline Millard County, Utah; a delivery station near Delta, Utah; and appurtenant facilities, including a block valve, taps, and a launcher and receiver. Prior to filing its Application, Kern River participated in the Pre-Filing Process for the Delta Lateral Project. On November 4, 2021, the Commission released the draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS) for the Delta Lateral Project. The Draft EIS concluded that approval of the Delta Lateral Project would result in some adverse environmental impacts that, with the exception of climate change impacts, would be reduced to less-than-significant levels because of the impact avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures proposed by Kern River and those recommended by Commission staff in the Draft EIS. On October 22, 2021, the Commission released the final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS) for the Delta Lateral Project, concluding that, if constructed and operated in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, Kern River's proposed mitigation, and Commission staff's recommendations presented in the Final EIS, approval of the Delta Lateral Project would result in some adverse environmental impact that, with the exception of climate change impacts, would not be significant. The Final EIS also stated that Commission staff continues to be unable to determine significance with regard to climate change impacts. Agenda item C-1 may be an order on the Application.

C-2 – ANR Pipeline Company (Docket No. CP21-78-000). On March 12, 2021, ANR Pipeline Company (ANR) filed an application for a CPCN for its Wisconsin Access Project. The Wisconsin Access Project consists of modifications at seven meter stations in Oneida, Marathon, Oconto, and Manitowoc Counties, Wisconsin, to provide increased firm transportation capacity on its pipeline by 50,707 dekatherms per day. On December 3, 2021, the Commission released the draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS) for the Wisconsin Access Project. The Draft EIS concluded that approval of the Wisconsin Access Project would result in limited adverse environmental impacts that, with the exception of climate change impacts, would be reduced to less-than-significant levels through implementation of Commission staff's recommendations in the Draft EIS and ANR's proposed avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures. The Draft EIS also stated that Commission staff continues to be unable to determine significance with regard to climate change impacts. On March 18, 2022, the Commission released the final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS) for the Wisconsin Access Project. The Final EIS concluded that approval of the Wisconsin Access Project would result in limited adverse environmental impacts that, with the exception of climate change impacts, would be reduced to less-than-significant levels through implementation of Commission staff's recommendations in the Final EIS and ANR's proposed avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures. The Final EIS also stated that the Wisconsin Access Project's annual operation and downstream greenhouse gas emissions would exceed the Commission's presumptive significance threshold based on 100 percent utilization. Agenda item C-2 may be an order on the Application.

C-3 – Rover Pipeline, LLC and Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (Docket No. IN19-4-001). On March 18, 2021, the Commission issued an Order to Show Cause and Notice of Proposed Penalty (Show Cause Order), in which the Commission directed Rover Pipeline, LLC and Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (jointly, Respondent or Rover) to show cause why it should not be (1) found to have violated regulations by misleading the Commission in its Application for a CPCN and (2) assessed civil penalties in the amount of $20,160,000. The Commission explained in the Show Cause Order that this proceeding involves allegations by Office of Enforcement staff (OE Staff) that Respondent misled the Commission in its Application in stating that it was committed to not causing any adverse effects to the Stoneman House, an 1843 farmstead located near Rover's largest proposed compressor station. OE Staff alleges that Rover was simultaneously planning to purchase the house with intent to demolish it, if necessary, to complete its pipeline. OE Staff further alleges that Rover failed, while its Application was pending, to notify the Commission that it had purchased the Stoneman House in May 2015, intended to destroy the Stoneman House, and in fact did destroy the Stoneman House in May 2016. OE Staff concluded in its report of the foregoing that Rover violated the Commission's regulations requiring full, complete, and forthright applications, through Rover's misrepresentations and omissions when it decided not to tell the Commission that it had purchased the house, was considering demolishing it, and in fact demolished it in May 2016. On June 21, 2021, Rover submitted an answer and denial to the Show Cause Order (Denial), asserting that OE Staff misled the Commission with respect to the historic or cultural significance of the Stoneman House, the key legal issues, the mitigation commitments that Rover had made, and the timing and nature of Rover' disclosure regarding its purchase and removal of the Stoneman House. On January 20, 2022, the Commission issued an order establishing a hearing in this proceeding (Hearing Order). On February 1, 2022, Rover filed an expedited request to stay the administrative law judge (ALJ) proceedings that the Commission initiated in its Hearing Order until completion of the Declaratory Judgment Act action that Respondent concurrently filed in federal district court challenging the legality of the pending ALJ proceedings (Stay Request). Agenda item C-3 may be an order on the Stay Request.

C-4 – Spire Storage West LLC (Docket No. CP21-6-000). On October 9, 2020, Spire Storage West LLC (Spire) filed an application for a CPCN for its Clear Creek Expansion Project. The Clear Creek Expansion Project consists of modifications and expansions to Spire's Clear Creek natural gas processing plant (Clear Creek Plant) and natural gas storage facilities at its existing Clear Creek Storage Field in Uinta County, Wyoming. The Clear Creek Expansion Project would also involve construction of pipeline connections north to the Canyon Creek Plant (Sagebrush Pipeline North) and south to the Kern River Gas Transmission mainline (Sagebrush Pipeline South), as well as contractor yards, staging areas, temporary extra workspaces, access roads, and a non-jurisdictional power line. On October 27, 2021, the Commission released the draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS) for the Clear Creek Expansion Project. The Draft EIS concluded that approval of the Clear Creek Expansion Project would result in limited adverse environmental impacts that, with the exception of climate change impacts, would be reduced to less-than-significant levels through implementation of Commission staff's recommendations in the Draft EIS and Spire's proposed avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures. The Draft EIS also stated that Commission staff continues to be unable to determine significance with regard to climate change impacts. On March 15, 2022, the Commission released the final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS) for the Clear Creek Expansion Project. The Final EIS concluded that approval of the Clear Creek Expansion Project would result in limited adverse environmental impacts that, with the exception of climate change impacts, would be reduced to less-than-significant levels through implementation of Commission staff's recommendations in the Final EIS and Spire's proposed avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures. Agenda item C-4 may be an order on the Application.

 

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