Last week’s D.C. Circuit cases illustrate why environmental lawyers need to understand FERC.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been called the most important environmental agency that no one has heard of. At the end of last week, the D.C. Circuit decided two undramatic FERC cases that illustrate FERC’s environmental significance. One involved a bailout to coal and nuclear plants, the other involved water quality. The first …CONTINUE READING
From now on, carbon emissions from new pipelines will be one of FERC’s key concerns.
On Friday there were two seismic shocks in the world of gas pipeline regulation. FERC has spent years resisting pressure to change the way it licenses new gas pipelines. A whole point of a natural gas pipeline is to deliver the gas to users who will burn it, thereby releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. FERC …CONTINUE READING
Fights over who should pay for power lines may become much easier to solve.
New high-power transmission lines have to run a regulatory gauntlet to get approved. One of the biggest barriers, however, isn’t about whether the line can be built but who will pay for it. That has turned out to be a much knottier problem than you might think. A decision by the D.C. Circuit on Friday, …CONTINUE READING
The bill gives the Feds broad authority to authorize transmission projects.
We will need a much more robust transmission in coming years. Sources of renewable energy, such as Iowa wind farms, are often located far from the urban centers that need the power. Transmission also helps to deal with weather issues that may impact renewables: even if it’s too cloudy for solar in one state, the …CONTINUE READING
Utilities control a lot of the power system. How can we get their support for the energy transition?
Investor-owned utilities supply almost three-quarters of U.S. electricity. With some notable exceptions, they’ve tended to drag their feet on the energy transition. In order to push the transition forward, we need to get them on board. This post will try to diagnose the problem and sketch some possible remedies. The proposed Clean Energy Standard is …CONTINUE READING
A FERC ruling tilts the playing field against renewable energy. It should be repealed.
In 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) decided that state clean energy policies were distorting energy markets operated by PJM, the country’s largest grid region. That, at least, was the view of the Commissioners who were appointed by Republican presidents. PJM, which runs the electricity grid more or less from Chicago to Maryland, has …CONTINUE READING
A new court ruling could doom the Trump Administration’s ANWR plan.
A Ninth Circuit ruling yesterday overturned approval of offshore drilling in the Arctic. The ruling may directly impact the Trump Administration’s plans for oil leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). By requiring agencies to consider emissions when fossil fuels are ultimately burned, the Court of Appeal’s decision may also change the way that …CONTINUE READING
Current federal law provides many ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, even without a friendly senate
As the likelihood grows that the United States will have a new president who will preside over a divided government, and various policy think tanks line up to offer suggestions for effective action on various important issues, it seems like the right time to shine a light once again on a series of reports issued …CONTINUE READING
FERC is distorting energy markets in the name of perfect competition.
Last year, the GOP majority on FERC decided that state clean energy policies were distorting energy markets in the country’s largest grid region. Because they provided incentives for power producers, FERC ruled, those policies should be considered subsidies. It directed grid operators to introduce new policies to counter those subsidies and halt the dreadful onslaught …CONTINUE READING
The gird operator subject to the order has a plan to reduce its impact.
At the end of June, in a party-line vote, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a sweeping order that seems designed to prop up coal. The order will impact electricity markets in a wide swath of the country. There’s been a lot of concern that the order might seriously impact renewables. But PJM, which operates the …CONTINUE READING