On January 10, 2023, the Department of the Interior (DOI) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) signed a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) regarding an update to the regulations governing the development of offshore wind energy on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in an effort to modernize the existing regulations and facilitate development to meet the U.S. climate and renewable energy objectives. The existing regulations for leasing and managing OCS renewable energy activities were promulgated by the Minerals Management Service (BOEM’s predecessor) on April 29, 2009 (as authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the OCS Lands Act).
Former U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or the Commission) Chairman Richard Glick has officially departed the independent Commission after failing to secure a reconfirmation hearing before the Senate in December 2022. Glick’s departure leaves the Commission with a 2–2 split between Democrats and Republicans that could stall a number of major initiatives that were ongoing under the former Chairman and the Commission’s Democratic majority.
This Sidley Energy Enforcement update covers:
- Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approves settlement between Enforcement staff and Coaltrain
- Both FERC and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) enforcement reports highlight the respective agency’s continued commitment to strong enforcement
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upholds FERC’s finding that BP manipulated the natural gas market but remands to FERC to recalculate its $20 million penalty
- CFTC orders Glencore to pay a record-setting penalty of $1.186 billion
- CFTC and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) orders over $1.8 billion in fines against 11 firms for recordkeeping failure — employees using unapproved method of communications such as texts and WhatsApp on personal devices
On November 16, 2022, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released an updated version of its 2022 Scoping Plan for Achieving Carbon Neutrality. The plan sets ambitious goals for achieving carbon neutrality in California by 2045. Despite the plan’s being only a guiding document, it will likely lead to other agency actions that set stringent requirements related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
On October 18, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will auction offshore wind energy leases along the outer continental shelf off the coast of central and northern California (the Announcement). The sale will be the first-ever offshore wind lease sale on the West Coast and the first U.S. sale to support potential commercial-scale floating offshore wind energy development. According to the Announcement, the five lease areas, totaling approximately 373,268 acres, have the potential to produce over 4.5 GW of offshore wind energy and power more than 1.5 million homes. (more…)
On September 22, 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) regarding Incentives for Advanced Cybersecurity Investment, requesting comment on proposed revisions to regulations implementing the Federal Power Act (FPA). The revisions would provide incentive-based rate treatments for the transmission of electric energy in interstate commerce and the sale of electric energy at wholesale in interstate commerce by utilities for certain voluntary cybersecurity investments. The NOPR was issued in response to a Congressional mandate set forth in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, which directed FERC to establish cybersecurity incentives that would encourage investments by utilities in advanced cybersecurity technology and participation in cybersecurity threat information sharing programs. This NOPR replaces a prior cybersecurity incentives NOPR from December 2020.
On September 22, 2022, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) denied two separate complaints against natural gas pipelines located entirely within one state that turned on whether FERC had jurisdiction over the facilities under the Natural Gas Act (NGA). (more…)
On June 22, 2022, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) Independent Market Monitor director, Carrie Bivens, testified before the Texas House State Affairs Committee on the ERCOT market design, reporting that ERCOT’s “conservative” operating posture since Winter Storm Uri could add $1.5 billion to consumer bills in 2022. (more…)
NOPR to Reform Generator Interconnection Procedures and Agreements
On June 16, 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) took another step to ease access to the transmission grid with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) on Improvements to Generator Interconnection Procedures and Agreements. The NOPR seeks to reform FERC’s current procedures and agreements, and in doing so (1) address the significant interconnection queue backlogs, (2) provide greater certainty, and (3) prevent undue discrimination against new generation technologies. (more…)
The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is expected to issue an order later this month that could influence the development of “responsibly sourced natural gas” (RSG), natural gas certified by a qualified third party as meeting certain performance and operational criteria. Some in the energy industry have touted RSG as a way to meet net-zero and lower carbon emissions goals. (more…)