Regulatory Updates by Region

FERC Rejects Role in Reviewing State Compliance Proposals Under Clean Power Plan

After conducting several cross-country technical conferences on the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, FERC rejected calls from some parts of the utility industry to review the plans states will submit to EPA outlining how they would comply with the proposed Clean Power Plan. 

Electric utilities and RTOs had suggested FERC should review whether the interaction of individual state plans -- which will not necessarily be developed in tandem -- might jeopardize electric reliability and risk power outages. 

"State authority to propose plans for compliance with the federal Clean Air Act does not depend on, or require," approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, FERC wrote to EPA air chief Janet McCabe. "FERC is not seeking to alter this balance of federal and state roles or to assert authority over state plans."

FERC did, however, offer assistance to the EPA should it choose to develop a reliability safety valve, or process for a state to seek a waiver if grid operators determine they must violate compliance plans to ensure against power outages. Reviews of state plans "should rely primarily on existing processes for identifying and addressing reliability issues," such as those conducted by NERC, RTOs and ISOs, FERC said. 

"These processes are generally adequate, although increased effort by industry will be needed as state plans are developed. As appropriate, the commission could then review the analyses, suggest or request additional or modified analyses or, in limited cases, perform analyses itself," FERC wrote.

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