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Utility Dive: State-federal tension 'at an all time high' between MOPR, net metering attack, says head Maryland regulator

Posted by Catherine Morehouse on May 22, 2020

Utility Dive covered commissioners from New Jersey, Michigan, Maryland, and Massachusetts as they discussed FERC's MOPR order in AEE's first session of AEN|EAST ONLINE. Read excerpts below and the entire UD piece here. 

Between a controversial proposal to nationally overhaul solar net metering policy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's highly-scrutinized minimum offer price rule (MOPR), federal and state tension "is at an all time high," according to Maryland's head regulator. 

"The line between federal and state jurisdiction right now has never been blurred more," Maryland Public Service Commission Chair Jason Stanek said during a Thursday webinar hosted by Advanced Energy Economy. He and Commissioner Bob Gordon of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities both expressed increasing frustration with the MOPR in particular, and its potential impacts to the coastal states' budding offshore wind market.

The two states have been some of the most vocal MOPR opponents and are planning to file a brief with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals later this month to further the legal action that has already been taken against the rule. Meanwhile, FERC Chair Neil Chatterjee on Thursday encouraged states to give the rule time. FERC passed the MOPR order in December, despite strong opposition from states, clean energy advocates and other stakeholders.

The biggest immediate concern for states like New Jersey and Maryland is the order's impact on offshore wind development — New Jersey is aiming to add 7,500 MW by 2035 and Maryland's renewable portfolio standard has a 1,200 MW offshore wind carveout.

Because offshore wind is capital-heavy and hasn't reached the same level of cost-competitiveness as solar and onshore wind energy, most all analysts expect the resource will not clear the new MOPR bidding prices, which are raised for all new resources entering the market that receive state subsidies.

"For New Jersey and some other states that have been very active in advancing clean energy policies and subsidising these resources, I would say that the greatest threat that we're facing is FERC's recent" MOPR order, said Commissioner Gordon. "We believe that there's great potential, as a result of that ruling, if it were to stand, to raise the cost of clean energy resources and really threaten the economic viability of them."

New Jersey and Maryland are looking into potentially exiting the PJM capacity auction through some version of a Fixed Resource Requirement (FRR) alternative... 

Read the entire UD piece here. 

Topics: AEE In The News