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…]

Oregon Commission Reaffirms Many of Its PURPA Policies

On February 24, 2014, the Oregon Public Utility Commission (Oregon Commission) issued an order in the first part of its investigation into its policies related to contracting and pricing under the Oregon and federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA).  The Oregon Commission maintained most of its existing policies; however, it made a number of modifications that could impact the development of small power production facilities.  The order completes the first phase of its comprehensive investigation, and the Commission will consider a number of other critical PURPA-related issues in a second phase in 2015.  [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…]