FERC orders utilities to refine line ratings to increase transmission efficiency

In an effort to make the existing transmission system more efficient, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has ordered all transmission owners to consider ambient conditions when determining how much electricity can flow through their power lines.

the rule published Thursday gives transportation owners three years to use the new line ratings after filing compliance plans with FERC.

Typically, transportation owners use conservative assumptions about worst-case, long-term air temperature and other weather conditions when setting line ratings, FERC staff said on Thursday. during the agency’s monthly meeting.

These line ratings, known as seasonal or static ratings, are typically only updated when equipment is changed or weather assumptions are revised, FERC staff said.

Environmentally adjusted ratings, which are already in use by some utilities, take into account short-term changes in temperature and solar heating values, which on average should allow more electricity to flow through power lines than below static line ratings, FERC staff said.


“If we are to meet the needs of the network of the future while maintaining fair and reasonable customer prices and maintaining network reliability, we must take everything out of our existing network. “

Richard glick

President, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission


The rule requires regional transmission organizations and independent grid operators to put in place the necessary systems and procedures to allow transmission owners to update their transmission line ratings at least hourly.

FERC declined to require transportation operators to use “dynamic” line ratings, but announced a separate case to explore the issue. Dynamic line ratings are set using up-to-date temperature forecasts, along with other weather conditions such as wind, cloud cover, solar heating intensity and precipitation, as well as line conditions transmission such as tension or sag, FERC staff said.

“If we are to meet the needs of the network of the future while maintaining fair and reasonable customer prices and maintaining network reliability, we must remove everything from our existing network,” said FERC President Richard Glick. “Today’s final rule is a huge step forward in more efficient use of our transmission system.”

FERC could split ANOPR transmission into multiple rules

On another transportation issue, Glick described the possible timeframe for regulation governing transportation planning, cost allocation, and generator interconnection reform.

FERC is still reviewing the many comments it received on its Notice of Proposed Regulatory Proposal (ANOPR), Glick said at a press conference Thursday.

Glick said he would try to come to an agreement with his fellow commissioners on how to handle the release of a proposed rule.

He said he hoped to release a proposed rule early next year, with a final rule before the end of 2022.

However, depending on what his colleagues think, FERC could issue several rule proposals, according to Glick.

“No decision has been made, but we may have to divide some of these issues into different regulations, maybe two or three different regulations, depending on the difficulty of the task and how the different commissioners view the different issues. “said Glick.

FERC staff demand $ 40 million fine from pipeline company

Thursday’s FERC meeting showcased actions in the gas sector, with several projects under review.

Pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners and the Rover Pipeline subsidiary are expected to pay $ 40 million for allegedly using unapproved toxic substances and other permit violations, according to FERC staff.

“When a pipeline developer receives a public convenience and necessity, his obligations do not end when the pipeline begins to operate,” said Glick. “If the company does not comply with the conditions of the certificate, it is imperative that the commission make it clear that there are serious consequences, including significant financial penalties and, if all else fails, revocation of the certificate itself. same.”

FERC staff say Energy Transfer Partners violated its commission-approved certificate while building its $ 6.7 billion Rover pipeline, which connects Pennsylvania and West Virginia through Ohio to ‘in Michigan.

In 2017, contractors used diesel fuel and other toxic substances and unapproved additives to drill “mud” while drilling under a river in Ohio. About 2 million gallons of sludge were accidentally released and flowed into a nearby protected wetland, according to FERC “show cause” order.


The FERC orders “shine a light on the certification process in a way that should motivate the industry to help identify reforms that would enhance public confidence in the commission’s decision-making and compliance oversight.” .

Allison Clement

Commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission


Separately, FERC staff said in March that Energy Transfer Partners should pay $ 20.2 million for misleading the agency about plans to destroy a historic building to clear a path for the Rover pipeline. This process of “showing the cause” is underway at FERC.

FERC Thursday too ran his executive office examine the possible failure of the Midship Pipeline to adequately restore the right-of-way along a 200-mile pipeline in Oklahoma, with possible penalties if the company is found to have violated the terms of its license .

Action on the Rover pipeline, three orders related to the Midland pipeline and decisions to cancel permits issued to the former Jordan Cove Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and a related pipeline as well as the PennEast Pipeline Highlight skepticism about the FERC pipeline approval process and pipeline development in general, Commissioner Allison Clements said.

The orders “shine a light on the certification process in a way that should motivate the industry to help identify reforms that would enhance public confidence in the commission’s decision-making and compliance oversight,” said Clements.

Clements said FERC should revise its review process for proposed natural gas pipelines and LNG facilities as soon as possible with a “more in-depth assessment” of the need for a project.

“We should consider whether a needs determination should consider how future demand for the project might be affected by a policy change or private industry initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Clements said.

FERC is also expected to decide whether it should require greenhouse gas mitigation measures to offset carbon emissions from new pipelines and LNG plants, Clements said.

Christie sees the need for more pipelines

Meanwhile, FERC Commissioner Mark Christie pointed to reports from ISO New England and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator that there may not be enough natural gas to meet winter needs.

“We’re going to have to face the reality that the need for gas-fired power generation is not going to go away next month, next year,” Christie said. “We’re going to have to face this and be ready to build the transportation facilities to get the gas to the generators so we can keep the lights on.”

Christie’s comments came a day after Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, said in a letter to FERC this the agency threatened the energy security of the United States. Barrasso said FERC appears to be approving natural gas infrastructure proposals too slowly.


“We’re going to have to face the reality that the need for gas-fired power generation is not going to go away next month, next year.”

Marc Christie

Commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission


Glick told reporters that the agency’s further examination of how natural gas projects could affect greenhouse gas emissions is in response to court rulings indicating that the agency’s clearances have been faulty, according to Glick.

Glick said it made no sense to make wrong rulings that would be overturned by the courts. “This is a real delay, we are talking about years of delay,” said Glick, noting that delays increase developer costs.

“If we don’t get our t’s and our i’s in the FERC regulatory process, and if we don’t do site selection, certification, and all environmental assessments right the first time,” we’re not going to achieve what we want to achieve, which is safer and to speed up the process, ”Glick said.

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