At its June 16, 2022, open meeting, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR), Improvements to Generator Interconnection Procedures and Agreements, 179 FERC ¶ 61,194 (2022), proposing reforms to the Commission’s standard generator interconnection procedures and agreements.  The goal of the NOPR is to reduce queue backlogs and expedite the process for connecting new electric generation facilities to the transmission grid, and to do that the Commission has proposed altering its 20-year-old approach to processing interconnection requests to align with “first-ready, first-served” methods used in the organized markets around the country.

At the end of 2021, more than 1,400 gigawatts of generation and storage were waiting in interconnection queues throughout the country.  This backlog in the interconnection queue has created uncertainty regarding the costs and timing of interconnecting projects, many of which will be needed to maintain reliability in the wake of generation retirements across the country.  The NOPR seeks to address these issues through (1) implementing a first-ready, first-served cluster study process, (2) increasing the speed of interconnection processing, and (3) incorporating technological advancements into the interconnection process.  We’ve summarized several highlights of the NOPR here; however, there is a lot to digest in its 258 pages of proposals.  As is standard with any proposed rulemaking, the Commission has requested comments on specific topics.  Comments are due 100 days after publication of the NOPR in the Federal Register.  Reply comments are due 130 days after publication in the Federal Register.

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Photo of Melan Patel Melan Patel

Melan Patel is an associate in Stoel Rives’ Energy Development group. He primarily represents clients in the energy industry in regulatory, litigation, and transactional matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Melan has experience drafting and defending applications for the construction and…

Melan Patel is an associate in Stoel Rives’ Energy Development group. He primarily represents clients in the energy industry in regulatory, litigation, and transactional matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Melan has experience drafting and defending applications for the construction and authorization of natural gas pipeline facilities. He has represented natural gas pipeline companies in rate proceedings before FERC and defended them in administrative litigation related to shipper-initiated complaints. Melan has also negotiated and drafted a variety of natural gas and liquids agreements, including processing, gathering, sales, and intrastate and interstate transportation agreements.

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Photo of Jessica Bayles Jessica Bayles

Jessica Bayles is a partner in Stoel Rives’ Energy Development group, where she focuses her practice on energy regulatory support for renewable project development and transactions, compliance counseling, and regulatory controversies. Jessica counsels renewable energy developers and asset managers on compliance with the…

Jessica Bayles is a partner in Stoel Rives’ Energy Development group, where she focuses her practice on energy regulatory support for renewable project development and transactions, compliance counseling, and regulatory controversies. Jessica counsels renewable energy developers and asset managers on compliance with the requirements of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). She has significant experience in complex litigation and settlement proceedings before FERC. She also advises large electric customers in state public utility commission proceedings.

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Photo of Jason Johns Jason Johns

Jason Johns advises independent power producers, utilities, investors, and large users of gas and power resources with matters arising in power markets and state and federal energy regulatory arenas. Jason appears regularly in proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and in negotiations…

Jason Johns advises independent power producers, utilities, investors, and large users of gas and power resources with matters arising in power markets and state and federal energy regulatory arenas. Jason appears regularly in proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and in negotiations at the ISO/RTO level, where he represents independent power developers and utilities. His experience includes negotiating major facility contracts, such as interconnection, transmission, and power purchase agreements; prosecuting disputes at FERC; and counseling and defending clients on issues related to regulatory compliance.

Jason also works closely with large commercial and industrial users of electricity and gas, such as aerospace companies, pulp and paper mills, steel mills, and tech company data centers. In that role, Jason helps clients negotiate power and gas supply contracts, interstate pipeline capacity asset management agreements, and pipeline bypass agreements. Jason has also assisted these clients with demand management agreements, the installation of on-site resources (such as battery storage, fuel cells, and solar PV), and with retail and wholesale power purchase agreements for renewable energy and other resources. Jason also serves as a board member of The Climate Trust, a national leader in carbon offset projects and innovative climate change solutions.

Jason and his wife are parents to two growing boys, and they live just outside of Portland, Oregon.

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