FERC rejects BY request to add renewables into capacity market

Source: BY KELSEY TAMBORRINO, Politico • Posted: Tuesday, September 8, 2020

FERC late Friday issued an order that rejected an effort by the New York Independent System Operator to accommodate renewables in its capacity market. FERC called NYISO’s request “unjust and unreasonable and unduly discriminatory” because it favored resources supported by state policy — notably nuclear power plants and renewables — over those that did not receive such support, meaning fossil fuel generators. The action was swiftly condemned by the Natural Resources Defense Council and also by Democrat Rich Glick, who issued a statement saying the commission, “perverted NYISO’s buyer-side market power mitigation rules into a mind-boggling series of unnecessary and unreasoned obstacles aimed at stalling New York’s efforts to transition the state toward its clean energy future.”

So long and thanks for all the opinions: Friday was Bernard McNamee’s last day with FERC, as he heads back to Virginia to spend more time with his family. McNamee may be remembered as helping to cut a deal with former Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur to advance Venture Global’s Calcasieu Pass LNG plant, as well as changes to the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act. Some close FERC observers also say he has been instrumental in pushing minimum offer price rules for PJM and New York that prop up incumbent fossil fuel generators while undercutting state efforts to subsidize renewable energy. “Being a Commissioner has been a great honor and highlight in my exciting career as a practicing energy attorney and as a policy advisor and legal counsel in various government positions,” McNamee said in a statement Friday. He added that he would now begin looking for a new job, “presumably something in the energy sector.”

Who’s next: The Trump administration has said it will nominateVirginia Corporation Commission Chair Mark Christie and former NRDC attorney Allison Clements, which would bring the commission back up to five members for the first time since the Obama administration. Power and gas industry sources say the Senate Energy Committee would like to hold a hearing this month, but nothing is firm.