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FERC, CFTC, and State Energy Law Developments
On June 16, Connecticut joined seven other states—California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Oregon, and Virginia—in adopting an energy storage deployment goal as a strategy to address climate change. In furtherance of Connecticut’s move toward 100% carbon-free power by 2040, Governor Ned Lamont enacted Public Act No. 21-53, which establishes a goal to deploy one gigawatt (GW) of energy storage by 2030. The act also sets interim targets of deploying 300 megawatts (MW) of storage by the end of 2024 and 650 MW by the end of 2027.
On June 11, 2021, the US Department of the Interior’s (DOI’s) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issued a proposed sale notice to sell commercial wind energy leases on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the New York Bight. The New York Bight is an area of shallow waters located between Long Island and the New Jersey coast that is adjacent to the greater metropolitan tristate area, which is home to more than 20 million people. BOEM proposes to offer for sale eight lease areas and to complete the lease sale by holding a public auction.
Since January, FERC-regulated market participants and practitioners alike have anticipated how FERC may approach its enforcement mission under the stewardship of Chairman Richard Glick following his appointment as chair by President Biden. Although most market participants and practitioners have expected FERC to take an aggressive approach in investigating and penalizing instances of misconduct, FERC confirmed those expectations in its May 20 open meeting.

Bill Kissinger, Ella Foley Gannon, and Rick Rothman discuss recent US regulatory and legislative developments addressing climate change and renewable energy. They discuss the Biden-Harris administration's focus on setting goals to address climate change and highlight the success in California as a possible model for the United States. Read the Law360 article.

Read this Insight prepared by our energy and environmental lawyers addressing the status of stricter tailpipe emissions regulations and anticipated widespread use of electric vehicles (EVs). Companies looking to leverage the Biden-Harris administration’s focus on clean transportation, as well as utilities whose grids are going to be impacted by EV development, should consider reading the Insight and checking out the Automotive Hour Webinar Series for 2021.
Three Massachusetts utilities, in coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), issued a request for proposals on May 7, 2021 seeking bids for offshore wind projects. The utilities are seeking to procure between 400 megawatts (MW) and 1.6 gigawatts (GW), and developers are permitted to submit applications for projects between 200 MW and 1.6 GW.
A very significant step in the development of offshore wind in the United States was reached on May 11, 2021, when the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) approved Vineyard Wind’s 62-turbine offshore wind farm located about 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. This is the first major offshore wind project approved by BOEM, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Marine Fisheries Service: at 800 megawatts of capacity, the project is an order of magnitude larger than previously-installed test turbines and projects like the 30-megawatt Block Island Wind Farm.
As has been reported, a recent ransomware attack has caused an interstate pipeline and fuel supplier to much of the eastern United States to shut down its operations. Although the attack did not compromise operational systems, the company opted to cease operations as a precautionary measure.
FERC granted a partial waiver requested by a generation and transmission service cooperative (Petitioner) of certain obligations under FERC’s regulations implementing Section 210 of the Public Utility Regulatory Act of 1978 (PURPA), which mandates the purchase of power from qualifying facilities (QFs). Petitioner filed on behalf of itself and six distribution cooperative member-owners (Participating Members) for waiver of the Participating Members’ obligations to purchase energy and capacity directly from QFs and waiver of Petitioner’s obligation to sell energy and capacity directly to QFs. The order is an example of jurisdictional entities’ ability to swap certain of their obligations under FERC’s regulations in limited situations so long as the intent of the relevant laws is fulfilled.
On April 19, 2021, eleven years since the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report issued to Congress criticizing the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) for failing to adequately monitor offshore oil and gas pipelines located on the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico.