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In First Act as FERC Chair, McIntyre Asks for NOPR Extension

Hours after being sworn in as FERC chair on Thursday, Kevin McIntyre sent a letter to Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Rick Perry, asking for another month to study the controversial notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR), which faces a Monday deadline.

"To date, the Commission has received over 1,500 submissions" from the public about the NOPR, McIntyre wrote in a letter, which was sent following his swearing in. "In addition, the Commission has sworn in two new members within the last two weeks. The proposed extension is critical to afford adequate time for the new Commissioners to consider the voluminous record and engage fully in deliberations."

On Friday, a DOE spokesperson told NGI that McIntyre's letter has been received and it "is being reviewed. We will follow up when we have further comment." Perry was in Saudi Arabia last Monday to attend a conference and meet with energy ministers.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission faces a Dec. 11 deadline to take action on the NOPR [RM18-1]. The provision calls for FERC to impose rules on independent system operators and regional transmission organizations "to ensure that certain reliability and resilience attributes of electric generation resources are fully valued."

The rule would allow "for the recovery of costs of fuel-secure generation units that make our grid reliable and resilient," according to Perry. Eligible units would have to "be able to provide essential energy and ancillary reliability service and have a 90-day fuel supply on site in the event of supply disruptions caused by emergencies, extreme weather, or natural or man-made disasters."

Coal and some electricity organizations have shown support for the NOPR, while natural gas industry groups have vehemently opposed it. It has also been criticized by several former FERC commissioners and chairmen, and by members of a House Committee on Energy and Commerce subcommittee.

One recent analysis concluded that subsidies included in the NOPR would cost as much as $10.6 billion a year, with most of the funds going to a handful of coal and nuclear companies.

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