The Federal Vitality Regulatory Fee on Thursday unanimously rejected a plea to declare all state photo voltaic internet metering insurance policies unlawful, a victory for photo voltaic trade teams and state policymakers.
All 4 FERC commissioners voted to dismiss the April petition from the New England Ratepayers Affiliation (NERA), which argued that FERC, not states, ought to have jurisdiction over gross sales of electrical energy from customer-sited turbines like rooftop photo voltaic.
“We discover that the petition doesn’t determine a particular controversy or hurt that the fee ought to handle in a declaratory order,” FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee stated in Thursday’s FERC open assembly.
NERA, a New Hampshire-based 501(c)(four) group that doesn’t disclose its backers, stated FERC ought to take up its authorized argument to say federal jurisdiction over internet metering laws in 41 states that “overcompensate distributed turbines on the expense of all different electrical energy customers.”
That stance drew widespread opposition from photo voltaic and environmental teams and state regulators and lawmakers, who argued that it might undermine long-standing internet metering regimes central to state-by-state vitality and environmental targets. Feedback opposing the proposal had been filed by 1000’s of particular person commenters, 30 state public utility commissions and 35 members of Congress, in addition to 31 attorneys common from states starting from Oklahoma to California.
The one publicly disclosed member of NERA, Geoffrey Mitchell, a buyer of Connecticut utility Unitil, is a long-time utility guide and a board member of the Ratepayers Authorized Protection Fund, a corporation based by NERA President Marc Brown.
The Edison Electrical Institute, the chief U.S. utility commerce group which has traditionally opposed the growth of photo voltaic internet metering, declined to assist NERA’s petition. Members of Congress together with former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) filed a letter arguing that federal regulation “makes clear that Congress supposed for net-metering packages to fall below state jurisdiction, not FERC’s,” and that granting NERA’s petition “would overturn long-held precedent and provides the federal authorities decision-making energy that has lengthy belonged to the states.”
“The Fee appropriately declined to upend many years of its personal precedent, and the state vitality insurance policies in place in over 40 states and utilized by over 2 million retail electrical energy prospects that depend on that precedent, primarily based on a set of hypotheticals and generic grievances that failed to supply any information or circumstances that might assist large federal preemption of state regulation,” Jeff Dennis, common counsel and managing director on the Superior Vitality Financial system commerce group, stated in a Thursday assertion.
However the authorized points behind NERA’s petition weren’t addressed in FERC’s Thursday order, FERC Commissioner Bernard McNamee famous. Whereas McNamee joined different commissioners to dismiss the petition, the order “doesn’t handle any of the numerous underlying points […] neither is it a choice on the deserves of the problems contained within the petition,” he stated.
The choice represents one other vital win for clear vitality not too long ago. Final week, a federal court docket upheld FERC Order 841, which requires vitality storage property together with behind-the-meter batteries to have the ability to entry federall regulated wholesale vitality markets. The order had been opposed by utility commerce teams arguing that it interfered of their authority over distribution grid-connected property.
“SEIA applauds FERC’s unanimous choice to dismiss this flawed petition,” Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Photo voltaic Vitality Industries Affiliation (SEIA), stated in a assertion. “We are going to proceed working within the states to strengthen internet metering insurance policies to generate extra jobs and funding, and we are going to advocate for honest remedy of photo voltaic at FERC the place it has jurisdiction.”