PJM’s ‘focused’ MOPR takes effect, boosting renewables and nuclear as FERC commissioners deadlock
FERC’s inability to reach a decision on PJM’s proposed changes to its MOPR — a rule designed to prevent a market participant from offering artificially low bids to suppress capacity prices — is the latest twist in a controversial regulatory process.
In June 2018, FERC ordered PJM to expand its MOPR to prevent subsidized resources from distorting the grid operator’s capacity market, which aims to make sure PJM has enough power supplies to meet its needs. FERC Chairman Richard Glick, then a commissioner, voted against the decision.
FERC in October 2020 largely approved PJM’s plan to revamp its capacity market. Glick dissented, calling the MOPR proceeding ” one of the commission’s all-time worst, both in the baffling decisions it reached and the bumbling way in which it got there.”
During the process, states like Maryland and New Jersey considered pulling out of the capacity market, saying the expanded MOPR was a barrier to their clean energy goals. Renewable energy advocates also opposed the expanded MOPR. PJM runs the grid and wholesale power markets in 13 Mid-Atlantic and Midwest states and in the District of Columbia.
Responding to state concerns, PJM in February started a fast-track stakeholder process to revise its MOPR. The process led to an overhaul proposal that was widely supported by the grid operator’s members.
Under the new rules, renewable energy facilities and nuclear power plants will be exempt from the MOPR, as will demand-response and energy efficiency programs, along with new natural gas-fired power plants.
Parties will be able to file complaints at FERC if they believe a state-backed power facility should see its capacity bids increased via the MOPR.
Independent power plant owners, natural gas companies and Monitoring Analytics, PJM’s market monitor, opposed the focused MOPR, in part because they said it would lead to unjust electric rates and it would be overly complex.
EPSA is considering its options, according to Todd Snitchler, EPSA president and CEO.