FERC Finalizes Reforms to PURPA Regulations

On July 16, 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or “Commission”) issued Order No. 872 , a final rule that the Commission explains is intended to implement its statutory mandate to update rules promulgated pursuant to the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (“PURPA”). [1] The rule will become effective in late November. [2] The changes generally restrict the ability of the owners of Qualifying Facilities (“QFs”) to access some of the more favorable commercial terms mandated by Commission policy previously in place for several decades. As background, PURPA...
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Trump Administration Publishes Final Revisions to NEPA Regulations

On July 16, 2020, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (“CEQ”) published its much anticipated final rule revising the regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”). [1] Since taking office, the Trump Administration has sought to modernize NEPA and facilitate more efficient, effective, and timely NEPA reviews. [2] Since NEPA was enacted in 1970, implementation has become unwieldy and often does not serve NEPA’s purpose in informing decision-makers and the public. The Final Rule marks the first comprehensive revision of CEQ’s NEPA regulations since the...

Electric Transmission and Distribution Utilities and FERC COVID-19 Relief

On March 13, 2020, President Trump deemed the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States a national emergency as of March 1, 2020. [1] Due to the pandemic, certain electric transmission and distribution public utilities have experienced electricity demand that differs from projections. In addition, some state regulators took steps to provide relief to certain consumers. At the federal level, North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) issued guidance in March 2020 that it will consider the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to be an acceptable basis for non-compliance with certain NERC...

Nigerian Marginal Fields: New Bid Round and New Guidelines

Nigeria’s Department of Petroleum Resources (“ DPR ”) announced on 1 June 2020 the launch of a new marginal field bid round. Fifty-seven marginal fields have been made available, being a mix of onshore, swamp and shallow-offshore fields. The DPR also released new guidelines covering the bid process, the award and farm-out of marginal fields and their operation (“ Guidelines ”). We consider the essential features of marginal fields – a somewhat complex arrangement of law, regulation and practice – along with the significant requirements of the 2020 bid process and new Guidelines, and the...

FERC Proposes To Limit Availability Of Tariff Waivers

At its May 21, 2020 meeting, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or “Commission”) issued an order soliciting comments on a proposed policy statement respecting the waiver of tariff requirements. [1] As discussed further below, the proposed policy statement represents a marked change relative to FERC’s existing practices on tariff waivers and, if adopted, would limit the circumstances in which an entity would be able to obtain waiver of a tariff provision to excuse actions or omissions occurring prior to the submission of a petition for relief. When issuing the proposed policy,...
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