FERC and Wholesale Electricity Markets
LeadersSteven Shparber , Daniel R. Simon
DirectorRod E. Williamson
Clients regularly rely on Clark Hill’s unique experience with issues affected by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), including issues involving independent system operators (ISOs) and regional transmission organizations (RTOs). In representing renewable energy and battery storage projects, independent power producers, trade groups, commercial/industrial energy consumers, and municipal utilities, we support clients in FERC matters adverse to ISOs/RTOs and traditional vertically-integrated electric utilities.
We regularly advise clients in their efforts to interconnect with and participate in all six FERC-regulated ISO/RTO markets. Notably, our team includes attorneys that understand the inner workings of ISOs/RTOs, having previously represented ISO New England, the New York Independent System Operator, and PJM Interconnection as both internal and outside counsel. Our clients regularly seek our assistance on the most cutting-edge issues, including battery storage integration, capacity and energy market reforms, and interconnection requirements. Clients draw on our in-depth ISO/RTO knowledge in numerous ways, from project development, market participation, evaluation of market opportunities, negotiation of power purchase and financing agreements, stakeholder process interaction, dispute resolution, and negotiations with ISO/RTOs and direct advocacy at FERC.
ERCOT and Texas
We also assist clients with their activities in Texas. The RTOs for Texas are the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), an intrastate grid regulated on both wholesale and retail by one regulator, the Texas Public Utility Commission, and the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), which are FERC-regulated RTOs. Our clients engage us on regulatory issues, contractual documents that are based on the particular RTO market, and RTO matters. This includes matters for generation, transmission, distribution, microgrids, and load (including co-location of data centers at renewable generation sites and behind-the-meter-generation at load sites).
FERC Proceedings and Rate Filings
Clients seek counsel from our attorneys in matters before FERC such as rate filings, protests, complaint proceedings, cases set for hearing before an administrative law judge, and investigations by the Office of Enforcement. Several of our attorneys previously worked at FERC. We frequently intervene on behalf of clients to support or protest ISO/RTO filings to amend market rules and transmission/interconnection service, as well as in rulemaking proceedings. We assist and represent clients in reactive power rate filings and in disputes over interconnection agreements.
FERC Implications in Major Transactions
Many aspects of energy project development, project finance, power purchase agreements, and M&A transactions implicate important issues involving FERC and ISOs/RTOs. Clients regularly seek our deep knowledge on these issues to provide sophisticated and specialized assistance in support of their transactions, particularly for renewable energy, battery storage, and on-site and behind-the-meter generation.
Intersection of Federal and State Policies and Jurisdiction
The power sector is experiencing an increasing intersection, and sometimes conflict, between federal and state jurisdiction and competing policies. These issues have become particularly common for behind-the-meter and distributed generation, particularly for commercial and industrial energy users, and in matters related to transmission level cost allocation to interconnecting renewable energy projects. Our team has substantial experience helping clients navigate these issues, and when necessary, directly advocating on their behalf before FERC, state commissions, and federal and state courts.
We often assist clients in the full range of FERC compliance issues, including market-based tariffs, M&A approvals, compliance with ISO/RTO tariff requirements, and enforcement investigations and proceedings. We have designed and managed a comprehensive compliance program for one of the largest integrated energy companies in the U.S., including all generation, wholesale electricity, and natural gas commodity transactions and ISO-RTO regulations. We also have substantial experience in advising clients that are the subject of enforcement proceedings or investigations in navigating the risk assessment, data production, self-reporting, and outreach initiatives and ultimate negotiation of settlement terms.
We have extensive experience helping clients with issues involving FERC-issued hydroproject licenses, including obtaining preliminary permits and licenses, FERC license compliance, negotiating arrangements with state and federal environmental and resource agencies, performing due diligence for potential acquisitions, and assisting with regulatory requirements in closing hydroproject acquisitions.