Recent Cold Weather Drove Record NG Withdrawals

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), net withdrawals from natural gas storage fields across the U.S. reached a historical peak for the week ending January 5, 2018.  The net withdrawals totaled 359 billion cubic feet, exceeding the prior record of 288 billion cubic feet that was set in January 2014.  The cold also impacted natural gas production as low temperatures resulted in freeze-offs—when water vapor in the natural gas stream freezes and blocks the flow—in the Appalachian and Permian basins.  Freeze-offs were also reported in the Marcellus and Utica shales.

Despite these withdrawal amounts, EIA data shows that both spot and futures prices for February–May are under $3.

Posted in Blog Posts | Tagged | Comments Off on Recent Cold Weather Drove Record NG Withdrawals

EPA Announces Additional Listening Sessions on CPP Repeal

EPA will hold three additional “listening sessions” on its proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan.

  • Kansas City, Missouri—February 21, 2018 from 10:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. CST;
  • San Francisco, California—February 28, 2018 from 8:30 A.M. to 7:30 P.M. PST; and
  • Gillette, Wyoming—March 27, 2018 from 9:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. MDT.

The listening session will provide an opportunity for members of the public to provide oral comments and supporting information on the proposed repeal of the CPP.  Pre-registration to speak at the listening session will be available approximately one week before each session, when notice is published in the Federal Register.

EPA has also stated that these notices will re-open the public comment period through April 26, 2018, and that it will give equal consideration to oral and written comments.  Relatedly, the deadline for comments on EPA’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on replacing the CPP is February 26, 2018.

Posted in Blog Posts | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on EPA Announces Additional Listening Sessions on CPP Repeal

EPA Posts New Webpage Outlining Deregulatory Actions; Other Organizations Also Tracking

Earlier this week EPA announced over Twitter that it was launching a new website detailing the deregulatory actions that it is taking to implement Executive Order 13771, Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs (“One-in, Two-out”). EPA’s new website provides a list, and links to more information, about deregulatory actions under development. It also provides links to any proposed rulemakings related to those actions.

EPA is not the only organization tracking deregulatory actions.  Among others,

  • The Brookings Institute’s Tracking Deregulation in the Trump Era covers deregulatory actions in, among other areas, environment, finance, telecom, and transportation.  For each rule listed, the Brookings tracker provides links to the Federal Register notices announcing the initial proposal and adoption of the rule, and the proposed deregulation effort.  It further notes whether a rule is in litigation or has been addressed by Congressional action;
  • The U.S. Chamber of Congress maintains a Regulatory Reform Tracker that provides information on the federal government’s deregulatory activities pursuant to: (1) executive orders, memoranda & guidance (2) Congressional action, and (3) agency actions;
  • Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law maintains a Climate Deregulation Tracker that monitors both regulatory and legislative actions related “to scal[ing] back or wholly eliminat[ing] federal climate mitigation and adaptation measures.” The tracker is linked to the Center’s database of federal regulations and policies that address the causes and impacts of climate change; and
  • Harvard Law School’s Environmental Law Program’s Environmental Regulation Rollback Tracker tracks federal “environmental regulatory rollbacks.”
Posted in Blog Posts | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on EPA Posts New Webpage Outlining Deregulatory Actions; Other Organizations Also Tracking

FERC Terminates DOE’s Proposed Grid Resilience Pricing Rule; Initiates New Proceeding to Further Examine Resilience Issues

Yesterday, FERC issued an order terminating the DOE -proposed grid resilience and reliability pricing rulemaking and initiating a new proceeding to take additional steps to evaluate the resilience of the bulk power system in regions operated by ISOs and RTOs, Grid Resilience in Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators, FERC Docket No. AD18-7.  The order emphasizes FERC’s commitment to prioritizing resilience and reliability issues especially within a market-driven regulatory structure, stating that “[t]he Commission’s endorsement of markets does not conflict with its oversight of reliability, and the Commission has been able to focus on both without compromising its commitment to either.”

Addressing its decision to terminate the DOE Proposed Rule proceeding, the Commission explains that in order to implement the changes identified in DOE’s proposal, Federal Power Act Section 206 requires it to find that the existing RTO/ISO tariffs are unjust, unreasonable, unduly discriminatory, or preferential.  But after examining the proposed rule and over 1,500 comment submissions from interested parties, it has concluded that “[n]either the Proposed Rule nor the record in this proceeding has satisfied th[is] threshold statutory requirement.”  The Commission further states:

While some commenters allege grid resilience or reliability issues due to potential retirements of particular resources, we find that these assertions do not demonstrate the unjustness or unreasonableness of the existing RTO/ISO tariffs.  In addition, the extensive comments submitted by the RTOs/ISOs do not point to any past or planned generator retirements that may be a threat to grid resilience.

However, the Commission also makes clear that in its view the resilience of the bulk power system remains an important issue, and that a new proceeding is necessary to:

  1. Develop a common understanding among the Commission, industry, and others of what resilience of the bulk power system means and requires;
  2. Understand how each RTO/ISO assesses resilience in its geographic footprint; and
  3. Evaluate whether additional Commission action regarding resilience is appropriate at this time.

The Order directs each jurisdictional RTO/ISO (not limited to entities with centralized capacity markets as the terminated docket seemed to be) to submit comments by March 9, 2018, on the above topics to help FERC determine whether it should take additional action to strengthen the resilience and reliability of the nation’s bulk power system.  Parties interested in submitting reply comments to the RTO/ISO comments must do so by April 1, 2018.

Commissioners LaFleur, Chatterjee, and Glick filed separate concurring statements.

Posted in Blog Posts | Tagged , , | Comments Off on FERC Terminates DOE’s Proposed Grid Resilience Pricing Rule; Initiates New Proceeding to Further Examine Resilience Issues

States to Hold Meetings on CPP Repeal

Several states have recently announced that they will hold public meetings to discuss EPA’s proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan.

  • The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will host a listening session on January 8.  Registration information is available here.
  • The New York Attorney General and New York City Mayor, in partnership with several other groups, will host a people’s hearing on January 9, and will submit testimony to EPA.  Registration information is available here.
  • The Maryland General Assembly and Attorney General will hold a hearing on January 11.

EPA is accepting comment on the proposed repeal until January 16. EPA held one public hearing on the CPP repeal in West Virginia and has announced its plan to hold additional hearings.

Posted in Blog Posts | Tagged , | Comments Off on States to Hold Meetings on CPP Repeal