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Defending State Energy Policies

Pro­tect­ing State Clean Ener­gy Rights at FERC

Attor­neys gen­er­al have chal­lenged pro­pos­als by the Fed­er­al Ener­gy Reg­u­la­to­ry Com­mis­sion (FERC) and region­al grid oper­a­tors, known as region­al trans­mis­sion orga­ni­za­tions (RTOs) and inde­pen­dent sys­tem oper­a­tors (ISOs), to design ener­gy mar­kets to unlaw­ful­ly penal­ize states that exer­cise their rights under the Fed­er­al Pow­er Act (FPA) to pro­mote clean ener­gy development.

PJM Interconnection’s Capac­i­ty Market

PJM Inter­con­nec­tion (PJM) is an RTO that oper­ates the whole­sale elec­tric­i­ty mar­ket in all or parts of 12 states and the Dis­trict of Colum­bia. The RTO ensures that there is suf­fi­cient elec­tric­i­ty to meet future needs through a com­pet­i­tive auc­tion process – the whole­sale capac­i­ty mar­ket – in which ener­gy providers promise to sup­ply a spec­i­fied amount of elec­tric­i­ty at a spec­i­fied price.

2017-2021

  • April 2018

    In April 2018, PJM advanced two cost­ly pro­pos­als to FERC for reshap­ing the whole­sale elec­tric­i­ty capac­i­ty mar­ket. If approved, the pro­pos­als would have increased con­sumers’ util­i­ty bills for all con­sumers in the PJM ter­ri­to­ry, espe­cial­ly impact­ing those states that have proac­tive­ly sup­port­ed clean ener­gy devel­op­ment through state pro­grams – such as renew­able port­fo­lio stan­dards – with­out improv­ing reliability.

  • May 2018

    In May 2018, three attor­neys gen­er­al sub­mit­ted com­ments to FERC assert­ing their oppo­si­tion to PJM’s proposals.

  • June 2018

    In June 2018, FERC issued a deci­sion reject­ing PJM’s pro­pos­als, but found that PJM’s capac­i­ty mar­ket vio­lates the FPA as it fails to account for price sup­pres­sion” caused by out-of-mar­ket” state clean ener­gy pref­er­ences. FERC ordered PJM to sub­mit with­in 60 days a pro­pos­al to reshape the capac­i­ty mar­ket by forc­ing elec­tric­i­ty pro­duced through state-sup­port­ed clean ener­gy pro­grams to be sub­ject to PJM’s min­i­mum price mech­a­nism, and by allow­ing elec­tric­i­ty gen­er­at­ed with state assis­tance to exit the capac­i­ty market.

    The FERC order pro­vides no evi­dence that state clean ener­gy pro­grams dis­tort the com­pet­i­tive­ness of the capac­i­ty mar­ket, and tram­ples on the law­ful pre­rog­a­tives of states to reg­u­late elec­tric­i­ty gen­er­a­tion facil­i­ties and to com­pen­sate resources for pro­duc­ing elec­tric­i­ty with envi­ron­men­tal attrib­ut­es. FERC’s deci­sion also requires PJM to fun­da­men­tal­ly redesign its capac­i­ty mar­ket with no stake­hold­er input.

  • July 2018

    The attor­neys gen­er­al of Illi­nois and Ken­tucky filed sep­a­rate requests in July 2018 for rehear­ing on the June 2018 order with FERC. The Illi­nois request argued that FERC was incor­rect in con­clud­ing that PJM’s capac­i­ty mar­ket is unjust and unrea­son­able and that out-of-mar­ket pay­ments are dri­ving capac­i­ty prices to unjust and unrea­son­ably low lev­els. The Ken­tucky request, filed with state ratepay­er advo­cates, argued that the deci­sion relied on the­o­ret­i­cal harm to the capac­i­ty mar­ket and that the nec­es­sary work to devel­op a fin­ished and work­able pro­pos­al to redesign the capac­i­ty mar­ket can­not take place under the lim­it­ed review and time frame pre­scribed by FERC. FERC has not yet ruled on the rehear­ing requests.

  • Octo­ber 2018

    In Octo­ber 2018, PJM sub­mit­ted to FERC two pro­pos­als for redesign­ing its capac­i­ty mar­ket rules in response to FERC’s June 2018 order. The pro­pos­als would remove state-sup­port­ed clean ener­gy from the capac­i­ty mar­ket and would insti­tute a strict price floor for the remain­ing resources, which could sig­nif­i­cant­ly increase con­sumers’ costs.

  • Octo­ber 2018

    Illi­nois Attor­ney Gen­er­al Lisa Madi­gan sub­mit­ted com­ments on PJM’s pro­pos­als, request­ing that FERC insti­tute a min­i­mum price mech­a­nism in a man­ner that does not raise capac­i­ty mar­ket prices to unjust and unrea­son­able lev­els. The com­ments also urged FERC to pro­vide states with suf­fi­cient time to adjust state-lev­el poli­cies in response to the final­ized capac­i­ty mar­ket rules. Final com­ments on PJM’s pro­posed capac­i­ty mar­ket rules were due to FERC on Novem­ber 62018.

  • Novem­ber 2018

    On Novem­ber 6, 2018, sev­er­al state attor­neys gen­er­al filed final com­ments opposed to PJM’s pro­pos­als that would penal­ize state clean ener­gy poli­cies in the PJM region. Wash­ing­ton, D.C. Attor­ney Gen­er­al Karl Racine filed com­ments that object­ed to FERC’s con­clu­sion that state clean ener­gy pro­grams are out-of-mar­ket” forces that dis­tort the capac­i­ty mar­ket and urged FERC to adopt capac­i­ty mar­ket rules that do not improp­er­ly blunt and intrude upon state clean ener­gy pref­er­ences. Sim­i­lar­ly, New Jer­sey Attor­ney Gen­er­al Gur­bir Gre­w­al filed com­ments on behalf of the New Jer­sey Board of Pub­lic Util­i­ties demand­ing that FERC not dis­crim­i­nate against valid state poli­cies in sup­port of clean ener­gy devel­op­ment and adopt mar­ket rules that do not attempt to mit­i­gate the eco­nom­i­cal­ly effi­cient effects of clean ener­gy gen­er­a­tion. Once again, Illi­nois Attor­ney Gen­er­al Madi­gan request­ed that FERC take steps to guard against increas­es in the clear­ing price of capac­i­ty mar­ket auctions.

  • July 2019

    In July 2019, when it still had not ruled on the two pro­pos­als that PJM had sub­mit­ted for the Commission’s con­sid­er­a­tion in Octo­ber 2018, FERC took the unprece­dent­ed step of instruct­ing PJM to not con­duct its planned August 2019 capac­i­ty mar­ket auc­tion. FERC con­clud­ed that delay­ing the auc­tion to a yet-to-be deter­mined date would pro­vide greater cer­tain­ty than hold­ing the auc­tion under the exist­ing mar­ket capac­i­ty rules that it reject­ed in June 2018.

  • Decem­ber 2019

    In Decem­ber 2019, FERC act­ed on PJM’s 2018 pro­pos­als by issu­ing an order that dras­ti­cal­ly alters the capac­i­ty mar­ket rules for the RTO. The order sub­jects state-sup­port­ed clean ener­gy resources to an admin­is­tra­tive­ly-deter­mined price floor, there­by large­ly pre­vent­ing these resources from par­tic­i­pat­ing in PJM’s capac­i­ty mar­ket. The order under­mines states’ author­i­ty to deter­mine their elec­tric gen­er­a­tion mix con­sis­tent with the FPA; will like­ly increase con­sumers’ util­i­ty bills; and undu­ly dis­crim­i­nates against clean ener­gy resources. PJM was pro­vid­ed 90 days to make a com­pli­ance fil­ing to imple­ment the changes to the capac­i­ty mar­ket. To learn more about the order and guid­ance the State Impact Cen­ter is pro­vid­ing states that are con­sid­er­ing opt­ing out of PJM’s capac­i­ty mar­ket vis­it here.

  • Decem­ber 2019

    State attor­neys gen­er­al are opposed to FERC’s Decem­ber 2019 order. Fol­low­ing the release of the order, D.C. Attor­ney Gen­er­al Racine and Mary­land Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bri­an Frosh stat­ed their oppo­si­tion to FERC’s action and indi­cat­ed that they would fight the order that under­mines their juris­dic­tions’ pref­er­ences for clean ener­gy and will be cost­ly for con­sumers in their jurisdictions.

    The Decem­ber 2019 order did not clear­ly address the many requests for rehear­ing of FERC’s June 2018 order find­ing PJM’s exist­ing mar­ket rules unjust and unrea­son­able, includ­ing requests from the attor­neys gen­er­al of Illi­nois and Ken­tucky. Illi­nois Attor­ney Gen­er­al Kwame Raoul, rep­re­sent­ing the Illi­nois Com­merce Com­mis­sion, filed a pro­tec­tive peti­tion for review in Decem­ber 2019 with the Sev­enth Cir­cuit Court of Appeals of FERC’s order to the extent FERC is address­ing the pend­ing request for rehearing.

  • Jan­u­ary 2020

    In Jan­u­ary 2020, Attor­ney Gen­er­al Raoul, on behalf of the ICC and with the agree­ment of FERC, moved to dis­miss its peti­tion for review at the Sev­enth Cir­cuit. The motion explained that after com­mu­ni­ca­tion with FERC’s coun­sel, the ICC under­stood that the Decem­ber 2019 order did not rep­re­sent a rul­ing on the ICC’s request for rehear­ing of the June 2018 order. The Sev­enth Cir­cuit grant­ed the motion for vol­un­tary dis­missal of the appeal with­out prejudice.

  • Jan­u­ary 2020

    Also in Jan­u­ary 2020, the attor­neys gen­er­al of Illi­nois, Mary­land and the Dis­trict of Colum­bia each request­ed rehear­ing of the Decem­ber 2019 FERC order. The attor­ney gen­er­al of New Jer­sey also request­ed rehear­ing as coun­sel for the New Jer­sey Board of Pub­lic Util­i­ties (NJBPU). These fil­ings chal­lenged FERC’s order as arbi­trary and capri­cious as well as unjust and unrea­son­able and undu­ly dis­crim­i­na­to­ry against state-sup­port­ed clean ener­gy resources in vio­la­tion of the FPA.

  • April 2020

    In April 2020, FERC issued an order deny­ing the rehear­ing request brought by the Illi­nois Attor­ney Gen­er­al on the June 2018 FERC PJM capac­i­ty mar­ket order and issued an order large­ly deny­ing the rehear­ing requests brought by Illi­nois Attor­ney Gen­er­al Kwame Raoul, D.C. Attor­ney Gen­er­al Karl Racine and New Jer­sey Attor­ney Gen­er­al Gur­bir Gre­w­al (on behalf of NJBPU) on the Decem­ber 2019 PJM MOPR order. Par­ties to the pro­ceed­ings can now pur­sue chal­lenges to the June 2018 order and the Decem­ber 2019 order in court.

  • April 2020

    Lat­er in April 2020, Illi­nois Attor­ney Gen­er­al Raoul filed a peti­tion for review in the Sev­enth Cir­cuit chal­leng­ing both of FERC’s orders and New Jer­sey Attor­ney Gen­er­al Gre­w­al, on behalf of NJBPU, filed a peti­tion for review in the D.C. Circuit.

  • Octo­ber 2020

    In Octo­ber 2020, the D.C. Cir­cuit issued an order trans­fer­ring the lit­i­ga­tion to the Sev­enth Circuit.

State Net Meter­ing Programs

Over 40 states have state-designed net meter­ing pro­grams that allow retail res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial cus­tomers who gen­er­ate their own elec­tric­i­ty – dis­trib­uted gen­er­a­tion – to sell sur­plus elec­tric­i­ty back to the grid and to receive cred­it for doing so on their util­i­ty bills. Under these pro­grams, cus­tomers’ meters oper­ate in a man­ner that only bills cus­tomers for their net ener­gy use. 

State net meter­ing pro­grams have helped mil­lions of retail cus­tomers to invest in rooftop solar and oth­er dis­tri­b­u­tion gen­er­a­tion resources. These invest­ments have low­ered con­sumers’ month­ly elec­tric­i­ty bills, cre­at­ed thou­sands of jobs in the solar indus­try and helped states meet state clean ener­gy goals. 

2017-2021

  • April 2020

    In April 2020, despite the sig­nif­i­cant eco­nom­ic and envi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits of state-juris­dic­tion­al net meter­ing pro­grams, an orga­ni­za­tion call­ing itself the New Eng­land Ratepay­ers Asso­ci­a­tion (NERA) filed a peti­tion for declara­to­ry order with FERC ask­ing FERC to assert fed­er­al juris­dic­tion over net meter­ing. The peti­tion called on FERC to reverse its pri­or caselaw and find that the retail billing prac­tice of net meter­ing is a sale of elec­tric­i­ty at whole­sale sub­ject to FERC jurisdiction.

  • June 2020

    Attor­neys gen­er­al were quick to chal­lenge NERA’s attack on state author­i­ty to design state- spe­cif­ic net meter­ing pro­grams that pro­vide finan­cial and envi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits to their res­i­dents. In June 2020, Mass­a­chu­setts Attor­ney Gen­er­al Mau­ra Healey led a coali­tion of 31 bipar­ti­san attor­neys gen­er­al in fil­ing a let­ter in oppo­si­tion to the peti­tion, request­ing that FERC deny the peti­tion. The attor­neys gen­er­al not­ed that their states have adopt­ed net meter­ing pro­grams con­sis­tent with the pow­ers explic­it­ly reserved to the states under the FPA to reg­u­late retail sales of electricity.

  • June 2020

    Attor­ney Gen­er­al Healey also led a coali­tion of 16 attor­neys gen­er­al in fil­ing more detailed com­ments oppos­ing the peti­tion for declara­to­ry order. These com­ments, also filed in June 2020, not­ed that not only is the peti­tion incon­sis­tent with the divi­sion of fed­er­al-state author­i­ty over whole­sale and retail sales of elec­tric­i­ty, respec­tive­ly, under the FPA and the Ener­gy Pol­i­cy Act of 2005, but it also is incon­sis­tent with two decades of FERC deci­sions rec­og­niz­ing that retail net meter­ing bill prac­tices fall under the domain of states. The coali­tion of 16 attor­neys gen­er­al also explained the neg­a­tive con­se­quences that would flow from grant­i­ng the peti­tion: nation­wide uncer­tain­ty regard­ing net meter­ing pro­grams; under­min­ing states’ clean ener­gy ini­tia­tives, many of which are required by state law; finan­cial harm to the mil­lions of retail cus­tomers who relied on exist­ing net meter­ing pro­grams in invest­ing in rooftop solar; and putting thou­sands of solar indus­try jobs at risk.

    Vir­ginia Attor­ney Gen­er­al Mark Her­ring sub­mit­ted his own Vir­ginia-spe­cif­ic com­ments in oppo­si­tion to NERA’s peti­tion. The com­ments stat­ed that the peti­tion should be denied because Con­gress has con­firmed state author­i­ty over net meter­ing ser­vice, the FPA does not bar state juris­dic­tion over net meter­ing ser­vice, and the peti­tion would upend Virginia’s 21-year old net meter­ing pro­gram, imper­mis­si­bly intrud­ing on the state’s reg­u­la­to­ry author­i­ty over net meter­ing activ­i­ties. Con­necti­cut Attor­ney Gen­er­al William Tong, who joined the two coali­tion fil­ings, also sub­mit­ted state-spe­cif­ic com­ments, and Penn­syl­va­nia Attor­ney Gen­er­al Josh Shapiro, who joined the 31 attor­neys gen­er­al let­ter, also sub­mit­ted Penn­syl­va­nia-spe­cif­ic com­ments in oppo­si­tion to NERA’s petition.

  • July 2020

    In July 2020, FERC sided with the attor­neys gen­er­al in dis­miss­ing the peti­tion for declara­to­ry order. FERC found that NERA had made gen­er­al asser­tions about state net meter­ing poli­cies that did not war­rant a gen­er­al state­ment from FERC.

State Ener­gy Stor­age Programs

Ener­gy stor­age infra­struc­ture, such as bat­ter­ies, helps bal­ance the dif­fer­ence between the elec­tric­i­ty grid’s demand for and sup­ply of elec­tric­i­ty. When there is more sup­ply than demand, excess elec­tric­i­ty gen­er­a­tion can be stored for lat­er dis­charge to the grid when demand out­strips supply. 

As some clean ener­gy sources, such as wind and solar, are inter­mit­tent, stor­age can ensure that more renew­able ener­gy can be deliv­ered to the grid. Many states have adopt­ed ener­gy stor­age pro­grams and goals as they have real­ized that ener­gy stor­age rep­re­sents an oppor­tu­ni­ty to inte­grate increas­ing lev­els of clean ener­gy into the elec­tric­i­ty grid. 

2017-2021

  • Feb­ru­ary 2018

    In Feb­ru­ary 2018, FERC issued Order 841 that instruct­ed RTOs and ISOs to amend their rules to enable stor­age resources to par­tic­i­pate ful­ly in the whole­sale elec­tric­i­ty mar­ket under the FPA. The Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Reg­u­la­to­ry Util­i­ty Com­mis­sion­ers (NARUC), as well as sev­er­al util­i­ty- and elec­tric coop­er­a­tive groups, chal­lenged FERC’s order in the D.C. Cir­cuit as unlaw­ful­ly vio­lat­ing states’ rights under the FPA to deter­mine how the local elec­tric­i­ty dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tem is used because it applied to stor­age resources con­nect­ed to the state-juris­dic­tion­al dis­tri­b­u­tion grid.


  • Feb­ru­ary 2020

    In Feb­ru­ary 2020, Mass­a­chu­setts Attor­ney Gen­er­al Healey led a coali­tion of five attor­neys gen­er­al in fil­ing an ami­cus briefin sup­port of the order in the D.C. Cir­cuit. The brief not­ed that FERC’s order law­ful­ly affects whole­sale elec­tric­i­ty rates while appro­pri­ate­ly rec­og­niz­ing states’ rights to reg­u­late the elec­tric­i­ty dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tem. The attor­neys gen­er­al also point­ed out that FERC’s order would allow the elec­tric­i­ty grid and its users to ben­e­fit from the capa­bil­i­ties of stor­age resources in inte­grat­ing greater lev­els of clean ener­gy into the grid.

  • July 2020

    In July 2020, the D.C. Cir­cuit issued a deci­sion, sid­ing with the attor­neys gen­er­al. The deci­sion denied the peti­tions chal­leng­ing Order 841, con­clud­ing that FERC’s reg­u­la­tion direct­ly affects whole­sale rates and does not direct­ly reg­u­late dis­tri­b­u­tion in accor­dance with FERC’s author­i­ty under the FPA. The court pre­served states’ abil­i­ty to chal­lenge the order as applied to their own state regulations.

State Car­bon Pric­ing Policies

A num­ber of states have put a mon­e­tary val­ue on the cost of car­bon emis­sions to reflect the neg­a­tive exter­nal­i­ties asso­ci­at­ed with cli­mate change-caus­ing pol­lu­tants. For exam­ple, California’s cap and trade pro­gram folds the price of green­house gas emis­sions into the cost of pow­er by putting decreas­ing annu­al lim­its on green­house gas emis­sions. The Region­al Green­house Gas Ini­tia­tive in the north­east­ern and mid-Atlantic states takes the same approach for the pow­er sector. 

2017-2021

  • Sep­tem­ber 2020

    In Sep­tem­ber 2020, FERC held a tech­ni­cal con­fer­ence with stake­hold­ers to dis­cuss issues relat­ed to state-based car­bon pric­ing mech­a­nisms in FERC-juris­dic­tion­al whole­sale elec­tric­i­ty mar­kets. The fol­low­ing month, FERC released a pro­posed pol­i­cy state­ment on car­bon pric­ing. The state­ment acknowl­edged state author­i­ty to design and imple­ment car­bon pric­ing poli­cies and con­firmed that FERC has the author­i­ty to approve rules for RTOs/​ISOs that can and should accom­mo­date state car­bon pric­ing policies.

  • Novem­ber 2020

    In Novem­ber 2020, Mass­a­chu­setts Attor­ney Gen­er­al Healey led a coali­tion of 11 attor­neys gen­er­al in fil­ing com­ments on the car­bon pric­ing state­ment. The com­ments not­ed the states’ appre­ci­a­tion for FERC’s recog­ni­tion of state author­i­ty to act in the car­bon pric­ing are­na and FERC’s author­i­ty to reg­u­late car­bon pric­ing rules in whole­sale elec­tric­i­ty mar­kets. The attor­neys gen­er­al urged FERC to go fur­ther and refrain from adopt­ing posi­tions on accept­able design ele­ments of state car­bon pric­ing pro­grams. Addi­tion­al­ly, the com­ments request­ed that FERC clar­i­fy that it will eval­u­ate on a case-by-case basis any state car­bon pric­ing rules for RTOs/​ISOs that are pre­sent­ed to it for con­sid­er­a­tion. Attor­ney Gen­er­al Healey sub­mit­ted Mass­a­chu­setts-spe­cif­ic com­ments on the car­bon pol­i­cy state­ment, ask­ing that FERC err on the side of restraint as ISO-New Eng­land con­sid­ers whole­sale mar­ket design changes that will advance cli­mate goals.

Defend­ing State Zero Emis­sions Cred­it Programs

Attor­neys gen­er­al have defeat­ed chal­lenges to state-cre­at­ed Zero Emis­sions Cred­it (ZEC) pro­grams in Illi­nois and New York to com­pen­sate nuclear gen­er­a­tors for keep­ing zero-car­bon oper­a­tions online. With­out ZECs, there was a con­cern that nat­ur­al gas gen­er­a­tion would replace nuclear gen­er­a­tion, increas­ing the states’ green­house gas emissions.

Illi­nois

2017-2021

  • April 2017

    In Illi­nois, in April 2017, for­mer Attor­ney Gen­er­al Lisa Madi­gan filed a motion to dis­miss that con­vinced the fed­er­al dis­trict court in Illi­nois, in July 2017, to drop a chal­lenge brought by fos­sil-fuel gen­er­a­tors to the state’s ZEC pro­gram. The claim by the Elec­tric Pow­er Sup­ply Asso­ci­a­tion (EPSA) and oth­ers assert­ed the pro­gram was pre­empt­ed by the FPA and the dor­mant Com­merce Clause.

  • Octo­ber 2017

    On appeal to the Sev­enth Cir­cuit Court of Appeals, Attor­ney Gen­er­al Madi­gan, in Octo­ber 2017, request­ed the Sev­enth Cir­cuit uphold the low­er court’s dis­missal of the chal­lenge. The attor­ney gen­er­al not­ed that the state’s ZEC pro­gram does not imper­mis­si­bly encroach upon FERC’s author­i­ty to reg­u­late whole­sale sales of elec­tric­i­ty under the FPA as the goal of the pro­gram is to gen­er­ate envi­ron­men­tal­ly ben­e­fi­cial ener­gy. Fur­ther, Attor­ney Gen­er­al Madi­gan point­ed out that the pro­gram does not vio­late the Constitution’s dor­mant Com­merce Clause because it does not dis­crim­i­nate against inter­state com­merce. The fol­low­ing month, Cal­i­for­nia Attor­ney Gen­er­al Xavier Becer­ra led a coali­tion of sev­en attor­neys gen­er­al in fil­ing an ami­cus brief in sup­port of Illi­nois in the Sev­enth Cir­cuit lit­i­ga­tion, mak­ing sim­i­lar obser­va­tions about the law­ful­ness of Illinois’s program.

  • Sep­tem­ber 2018

    In Sep­tem­ber 2018, the Sev­enth Cir­cuit sided with the attor­neys gen­er­al in uphold­ing the fed­er­al dis­trict court deci­sion and find­ing the ZEC pro­gram lawful.

  • March 2019

    In March 2019, new Illi­nois Attor­ney Gen­er­al Kwame Raoul filed a brief with the Supreme Court request­ing that the Court deny the peti­tion for a writ of cer­tio­rari that had been filed by the twice van­quished chal­lengers of the ZEC pro­gram. The fol­low­ing month the Supreme Court sided with Attor­ney Gen­er­al Raoul in deny­ing the petition.

New York

2017-2021

The attor­neys gen­er­al had a less active role, though no less essen­tial, in lit­i­ga­tion chal­leng­ing New York’s ZEC pro­gram, which is admin­is­tered by the New York Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion (NYPSC).

  • July 2017

    The NYPSC suc­cess­ful­ly defend­ed the pro­gram in fed­er­al dis­trict court in New York in July 2017 against a suit from var­i­ous elec­tric pow­er suppliers.

  • Novem­ber 2017

    On Appeal to the Sec­ond Cir­cuit, Cal­i­for­nia Attor­ney Gen­er­al Becer­ra led a coali­tion of eight attor­neys gen­er­al, includ­ing the attor­ney gen­er­al of New York, in fil­ing an ami­cus brief in sup­port of the NYPSC-admin­is­tered ZEC pro­gram in Novem­ber 2017. The brief not­ed that the dis­trict court had prop­er­ly held that the ZEC pro­gram is not pre­empt­ed under the FPA as it is a law­ful exer­cise of state author­i­ty to pro­mote the gen­er­a­tion of elec­tric­i­ty unteth­ered to FERC-juris­dic­tion­al whole­sale mar­ket rates. Addi­tion­al­ly, the attor­neys gen­er­al point­ed out that the ZEC pro­gram passed dor­mant Com­merce Clause scruti­ny because it did not have dis­crim­i­na­to­ry effects against inter­state commerce.

  • Sep­tem­ber 2018

    In Sep­tem­ber 2018, the Sec­ond Cir­cuit ruled in favor of the attor­neys gen­er­al in uphold­ing the dis­trict court’s dis­missal of the claim chal­leng­ing the ZEC program.

  • Jan­u­ary 2019

    In Jan­u­ary 2019, the chal­lengers once again filed a peti­tion for writ of cer­tio­rari for the Supreme Court to hear the complaint.

  • April 2019

    But the Supreme Court denied the peti­tion in April 2019 at the same time that it denied the peti­tion to hear a chal­lenge to Illinois’s ZEC program.