Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Rejects Department of Energy Proposed Rule on Coal, Nuclear Reliability

Jan 12, 2018

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) this week rejected the Department of Energy’s (DOE) September 29th proposal on grid reliability and resilience pricing for coal and nuclear power plants. While DOE’s proposed rule was closed without action, FERC noted that it was initiating a new effort to “holistically examine the resilience of the bulk power system,” and that resilience issues remain an important topic under the Commission’s consideration. 

FERC’s new proceeding (Docket No. AD18-7-000), will specifically evaluate the resilience of the bulk power system in the regions operated by regional transmission organizations (RTO) and independent system operators (ISO). In the new order, FERC directs each RTO and ISO to submit information to the Commission on certain resilience issues. 

The goals of this new proceeding are to develop a common understanding among the Commission, industry and others of what resilience of the bulk power system means and requires; to understand how each regional transmission organization and independent system operator assesses resilience in its geographic footprint; and to use this information to evaluate whether additional Commission action regarding resilience is appropriate.

FERC has taken other steps in recent years to address resilience and reliability issues affecting the bulk power system. For example, in response to the increasing use of natural gas for electric generation, FERC conducted a multi-year effort to evaluate the coordination of wholesale natural gas and electricity market scheduling, resulting in significant improvements to those scheduling and coordination processes and improve reliability of the grid. 

FERC expects to review the additional material promptly. Each regional market operator must submit the newly required information within 60 days of issuance of the order. FERC also invited other interested entities to respond to the market operators’ comments.

Read FERC’s full order terminating DOE’s proposed rulemaking at: https://www.ferc.gov/CalendarFiles/20180108161614-RM18-1-000.pdf