September 30, 2021 Read More →

PJM renewables boosted after FERC tie scraps price floor restriction

E&E News ($):

A proposed rule that will help zero-emissions energy sources compete in the nation’s biggest power market took effect yesterday by default after a deadlocked Federal Energy Regulatory Commission failed to act within the time required by law.

PJM Interconnection LLC, the operator of the bulk power grid across 13 states in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic and the District of Columbia, proposed in July restricting the use of a controversial minimum offer price rule (MOPR), an artificially set price floor for electricity resources competing in PJM’s annual capacity auctions (Energywire, July 9). Critics said the MOPR, which was crafted under the Trump administration, threatened to stifle capacity market participation by state-subsidized renewable energy projects and nuclear plants.

PJM filed its proposed changes to the market rule at FERC on July 30. The update became effective yesterday as the commission was split 2-2 along party lines. District of Columbia Public Service Commission Chair Willie Phillips, a Democrat, was nominated by President Biden for the vacant FERC seat but hasn’t been confirmed by the Senate.

The new rule governing PJM’s $4 billion capacity market takes effect almost two years after a Republican-led FERC directed the grid operator to apply the MOPR more broadly to renewable energy projects and nuclear plants receiving state support.

Clean energy groups and states with renewable energy goals balked at the expanded MOPR.

“The anti-clean energy price rule pushed by fossil fuel plant owners would have subsidized the continued operation of uneconomic fossil fuel resources, forced valuable renewable resources out of the capacity market, and hurt consumers,” Sierra Club attorney Casey Roberts said in a statement.

Many of those same groups said the new rule that took effect yesterday will help states within PJM’s footprint meet their carbon goals.

[Jeffrey Tomich]

More: Overhaul of grid market rule takes effect after FERC deadlock

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