On September 29, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued a notice that may impact wholesale rates in all federally regulated wholesale markets (not including ERCOT), possibly affecting: (i) merchant plant owners, (ii) wholesale market customers, (iii) renewable and gas fired generation, (iv) coal and nuclear power plant owners, and (v) power traders. Husch Blackwell energy regulatory attorneys Linda Walsh, Chris Reeder and Sylvia Bartell issued a detailed client alert on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) issued by DOE requiring regional transmission organizations (RTOs) and independent system operators (ISOs) “to ensure that certain reliability and resilience attributes of electric generation resources are fully valued.” The proposed market reform would provide additional compensation for what it identifies as “eligible grid reliability and resiliency resources” (EGRRRs), meaning basically, coal and nuclear power plants that have been vulnerable to retirement because they are not always competitive in current federally regulated wholesale markets.

Walsh and Bartell collaborated on an earlier article in Law360 in which they analyzed the DOE Staff Report to the Secretary on Electricity Markets and Reliability, and note specifically that, “The DOE report asserts that the bulk electric power system will be more resilient and reliable if resiliency attributes are monetized and factored into electricity prices. Current markets are not adequately designed to quantify policy considerations that would compensate units for resiliency attributes.” This latest NOPR, it seems, is intended to do just that.