FERC Approves BPA Oversupply Management Protocol and Rates

On October 16, 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued two orders accepting Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA) controversial oversupply management protocol and oversupply rates. FERC accepted BPA’s filings as temporary solutions to address the problem of high levels of generation that exceeded the available end use consumer loads on BPA’s system. This is called “oversupply” because BPA has too much generation. FERC found that BPA’s policy to displace and compensate wind generators during oversupply events is equitable and results in comparability in the provision of transmission service.   [Read more…]

Fifth Circuit Limits PURPA Wind Sales

On September 8, 2014, the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion that may make it more difficult for certain qualifying facilities (QFs) to sell power to electric utilities.  The two-judge majority concluded that wind generation facilities owned by Exelon could not sell power pursuant to a “legally enforceable obligation” to Southwestern Public Service Corp.  A legally enforceable obligation essentially means that the utility has a legal obligation to purchase power from the QF.  The third judge issued a strongly worded dissent disagreeing with the majority’s holding and reasoning.  [Read more…]

FERC Requires Utilities to Pay QFs for Capacity

On March 20, 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a declaratory order concluding that utilities must pay qualifying facilities (QF) for capacity as well as energy in sales pursuant to a legally enforceable obligation.  A legally enforceable obligation is when a QF has the right to sell power to a utility at specific prices.  FERC found that the Montana Public Service Commission’s (Montana Commission) rule requiring QFs to participate in a competitive bidding process to be paid for capacity failed to adequately compensate QFs.  As it typically does, FERC declined to initiate an enforcement action against the Montana Commission, but the declaratory order allows a number of QFs to sue the commission in court.  [Read more…]

FERC Rejects Proposal to Eliminate Small QF PURPA Purchase Obligation

On October 17, 2013, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied PPL Electric Utilities Corporation’s (PPL Electric) request to terminate its mandatory purchase obligation for a qualifying facility (QF) under 20 megawatts (MW).  [Read more…]

Hydropower Act May Spur Small Project Development

President Obama signed the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013 on August 9, 2013.  Congress passed the law to encourage hydroelectric development by streamlining the process for developing and operating small hydro projects that are subject to regulation by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  [Read more…]