Electric generators’ increased reliance on natural gas in recent years prompted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (the Commission) to issue a set of three orders on March 20, 2014 addressing the interdependency of the gas and electric markets. The result of two years of industry outreach and multiple technical conferences, the orders represent a preliminary milestone in the Commission’s continued effort to improve the coordination and scheduling of natural gas pipeline capacity with electricity markets.
Following well-publicized threats to the physical security of electric system assets, on March 7, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) directed the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to develop mandatory Reliability Standards to protect against physical risks to “critical” electric facilities. Due in 90 days, the Reliability Standards must provide the following:
- A methodology for identifying the critical facilities to be protected
- A requirement to identify the critical facilities’ vulnerabilities
- A requirement that facility owners and operators develop and implement a plan to protect against those vulnerabilities
This order will initiate a NERC Reliability Standards development project addressing comprehensive physical security requirements that must also produce results in a highly compressed timeframe.
Cyber attacks are increasingly becoming a regular part of an electric utility’s day-to-day business risks. News agencies provide an ongoing stream of reports on the increasing sophistication and danger of these attacks: 30,000 workstations disabled By a malicious virus at a Saudi oil firm, a generator’s control system infected By malware carried on a USB drive, and a generator restart delayed for three weeks By a malware inadvertently uploaded to control systems By a technician. Of the cyber incidents reported to the Department of Homeland Security’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (“ICSCERT”) between October 2011 and September 2012, forty one percent of incidents involved the energy sector, By far the largest number of incidents By sector.
On November 22, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) issued Order No. 791, approving comprehensive revisions to the Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Reliability Standards. The revisions were recently proposed By the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to address many of the concerns regarding CIP compliance that have arisen over the last few years as well as to close out the remaining Commission directives ordering changes to the CIP Reliability Standards.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Final Rule on November 22 amending the pro forma Small Generator Interconnection Procedures (SGIP) and pro forma Small Generator Interconnection Agreement (SGIA). The SGIP and SGIA govern the interconnection of Small Generating Facilities with a public utility’s transmission facilities or its FERC-jurisdictional distribution facilities and apply to facilities with capacity up to 20 megawatts (MW). The SGIP and SGIA also include special “fast track” provisions for Small Generating Facilities (no larger than 2 MW) as well as inverter-based facilities up to 10 kilowatts (kW).
Energy partner Stephen M. Spina will speak at Law Seminars International’s two-day conference, Developing Transmission in the Northeast. Mr. Spina will participate on the panel for "Cybersecurity Challenges and Solutions: Steps to Secure Electric Infrastructure and Grid Operations."
The conference, which is dedicated to resolving key issues from capacity to cybersecurity, will include discussions on the challenges to the integration of economic renewable resources, the siting of transmission reliability projects, the allocation of transmission costs among states and industry participants, the priorities of state renewable energy policies, and the security of the electric grid.
Friday, January 24, 2014
One Financial Center
Boston, MA 02111
See event details for information.
On October 17, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or the Commission) issued an order finding that rate schedules for jurisdictional reactive power must be filed with FERC, even if the provider of such services does not receive compensation. Although the Commission has ordered its staff to convene a technical conference addressing such filings, it did not indicate that generators may delay filings until such a technical conference is completed. Further, the Commission did not define when a generator will be deemed to be providing reactive power service in instances when the generator is not receiving compensation. Notwithstanding these uncertainties, all generators should consider filing rate schedules for reactive power service if they do not have such rate schedules on file. Further, to the extent a public utility is providing any jurisdictional service, even without compensation, it should ensure that it has a rate schedule on file for such service.
In response to President Barack Obama’s recent executive order, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a draft Cybersecurity Framework, which outlines the core cybersecurity activities, implementation guidelines, and risk management objectives for a robust cybersecurity program. Critical infrastructure owners in a wide variety of industries, including communications, manufacturing, defense, energy, financial services, agriculture, healthcare, and transportation, will be expected to implement the framework.
Please join us for a one-hour webinar to discuss the NIST’s recently released draft framework as well as its potential implications.
Topics will include:
- Understanding the draft Cybersecurity Framework
- Implications for critical infrastructure owners
- Remaining steps in adopting a final version of the NIST’s framework
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
1–2 pm ET
For more information, please contact Mary Ann K. Huntington at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1.202.739.5622.
Energy of counsel George Billinson will be speaking at the American Conference Institute’s 8th National Forum on Energy Trading Compliance and Regulatory Enforcement. Mr. Billionson will present on "Maximizing the Effectiveness of Surveillance Programs to Meet Cross-Agency Requirements, Minimize Risk, and Reduce Sentencing."
This master class will include discussion of the following topics:
- Creating a surveillance program while incorporating agency requirements
- Incorporating surveillance into compliance programs
- Mirroring surveillance programs used By the exchanges
- Managing resources vs. data management
- Understanding how proper surveillance can mitigate civil penalties in the event of wrongdoing
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Washington Plaza Hotel
10 Thomas Circle NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
On August 27, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order addressing the fuel obligations of capacity resources in ISO New England Inc. (ISO-NE). FERC concluded that ISO-NE's Transmission, Markets, and Services Tariff (ISO-NE Tariff) imposes a strict performance obligation on capacity resources. Capacity resources thus may not take economic outages, including outages based on economic decisions not to procure fuel or transportation. However, if a capacity resource is not able to obtain natural gas or transportation, then that resource may be considered physically unavailable and thus excused from its performance obligations.