EPA Announces Additional Listening Sessions on CPP Repeal

UPDATED 02.01.2018 EPA’s notice of three public listening sessions has been published in the Federal Register, 83 Fed. Reg. 4,620.

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.

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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.”
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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.

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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.

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FERC Issues Twelfth Assessment of Demand Response and Advanced Metering

Last month, FERC issued its twelfth annual Assessment of Demand Response and Advanced Metering.  Under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, FERC is required to prepare and publish annual reports assessing the deployment of advanced meters and communications technologies, as well as the current state of demand response programs and their use in regional transmission planning.

Advanced meters, as defined by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, must measure and record usage data in, at minimum, hourly intervals and provide usage data at least daily to energy companies.  Using 2015 data, the most recent year available for advanced meters, FERC found that the number of advanced meters operational in the U.S. increased by over 6 million to a total of 64.7 million, which represents 42.9 percent of all meters nationwide.  Advanced meter deployment is relatively consistent across residential, commercial, and industrial customer classes.  However, there are significant regional differences, ranging from over 80 percent to under 10 percent.

In terms of demand response programs, FERC’s assessment found differences between programs at the retail and wholesale levels.  At the retail level, total potential peak demand savings from demand response programs increased 5.4 percent from 2014 to 2015, totaling 1,684 MW.  In contrast, in the organized wholesale markets demand resources’ contribution to meeting peak demand fell to 5.7 percent in 2016 from 6.6 percent in 2015.  The greatest decrease in demand resource participation was in the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. region, although demand resource participation also fell in California Independent System Operator (CAISO), Independent System Operator New England, and New York Independent System Operator.

The final chapter of the report identifies regulatory barriers to improved customer participation in demand response, peak reduction, and critical period pricing programs.  Out of the barriers first identified in FERC’s 2009 National Assessment of Demand Response Potential, the December 2017 report identifies three as outstanding.  The first is implementing time-based pricing.  Although barriers to time-based pricing still exist, the report notes that in the past year several states have implemented time-based rate pilot programs.  The second barrier is that a lack of coordination between federal and state policies could slow the development of demand response resources.  However, the report adds that California has taken actions towards its goal of integrating all supply-side demand into CAISO wholesale markets by 2018.  Finally, the report addresses demand response as a distribution system resource.  It explains that demand response programs designed to meet bulk power system needs often have a limited ability to satisfy distribution system requirements, and that greater coordination between the operators of the distribution and bulk power systems may be necessary in order for demand response programs to be able to meet the needs of both.

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