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    Generation Investment in RTO Markets - The Challenge and Opportunity
    Published on May 15, 2015
    The nation’s power markets continue to experience transitional pains along the path toward an electricity sector increasingly built upon natural gas and renewables. Natural gas prices have continued to fall and look to remain depressed for the foreseeable future, opening new opportunities for expansion of gas generation but potentially stranding legacy investments in coal and nuclear fleets. Yet still, in some markets even natural gas generators are being squeezed out by a rapid influx of new renewable energy. In some respects, depth of the nation’s fuel mix is expanding, but potential loss of even more baseload generation may threaten fuel diversity, exposing new challenges, including new natural gas constraints, the need to balance highly variable renewables and reliability issues as large generators retire.
    SNL Energy
    Regulators Taking Aim at Methane Emissions: Does Anyone Know How Much Is Being Lost?
    Published on April 30, 2015
    Both federal and state regulators are increasingly homing in on methane emissions as part of a broader effort to reduce greenhouse gases. More important than ever is understanding the role of natural gas that is lost from the local distribution system and how it factors into emissions of methane that reach the atmosphere.
    ICF International
    Renewable Electricity - Tracking projects and progress in U.S. Renewable Portfolio Standards April 2015
    Published on April 24, 2015
    While the retroactive approval of a wind Production Tax Credit helped renewable energy development in 2014, further federal subsidies seem increasingly uncertain. The development pipeline for renewable generation is robust enough to keep many regions on target. Falling costs for new wind and solar, along with supportive Renewable Portfolio Standards and Renewable Energy Certificate markets will be critical to continuing development.
    SNL Energy
    Bank Consolidation and Merger Activity Following the Crisis
    Published on March 31, 2015
    The number of U.S. banks has trended lower over the past 30 years, dropping from about 14,500 in the mid-1980s to 5,600 today. The number of banks declined for many reasons, such as failures during periods of crisis, consolidation spurred by the relaxation of state branching and national interstate banking restrictions, and voluntary mergers between unaffiliated banks. Since the end of the 2007-09 recession, voluntary mergers have been the primary reason for the decline.
    Federal Reserve Bank Of Kansas City
    Capacity Performance: Changing the Game in PJM ISO
    Published on February 22, 2015
    The severe winter weather during the 2013–2014 “Polar Vortex” pushed the system in PJM closer to the brink than many thought was possible and led to historic price spikes in energy markets. This event shed light on the surprising weakness in the reliability of generation resources and potential flaws in the capacity market mechanisms meant to value both capacity and performance under constrained conditions.
    ICF International
    Unregistered CTA Summit Energy Services: Choose Your Words Wisely
    Published on February 9, 2015
    A recent case highlights the importance of periodically reviewing an energy company's marketing materials and related activities (including statements made on websites) to ensure that the company is not holding itself out -- without CFTC registration -- as a CTA (commodity trading advisor). A number of exclusions and exemptions may apply to such activity, including exemptions for providing advice to fewer than 15 persons and for advice that is solely incidental to a cash market business. However, these exemptions are narrowly construed and governed by older no-action relief rather than the rule itself.
    Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP (CWT)
    FERC Issues Order to Show Cause to Maxim Power
    Published on February 5, 2015
    On February 2, 2015, FERC issued an Order to Show Cause and Notice of Proposed Penalty to Maxim Power Corporation and its named subsidiaries (“Maxim”),  jointly and severally, as well as executive, Kyle Mitton (the “Order”).  The Commission ordered Maxim and Mitton (together, the “Respondents”) to show cause why they should not be assessed civil penalties of $5 million and $50,000, respectively. Respondents must answer the Order by Wednesday, March 4, 2015 and may elect in their answer to: (1) proceed via a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge; or (2) receive an immediate penalty assessment if FERC finds that a violation occurred, the payment of which the Commission may pursue in federal district court via a trial de novo if such penalty is not paid within 60 days. The Commission does not seek disgorgement because ISO-New England already recovered the alleged overpayments.
    Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP (CWT)
    Court Finds CFTC RTO or ISO Exemptive Order Bars CEA § 22 Private Right of Action, but More to Come from the CFTC
    Published on February 17, 2015
    Can private litigants bring claims under the Commodity Exchange Act alleging manipulation in ERCOT’s energy markets?  On February 3, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas answered “no,” granting defendants’ motion to dismiss in Aspire Commodities v. GDF Suez Energy North America.
    Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP (CWT)
    Recent Developments in BSA or AML
    Published on February 2, 2015
    January ended on a very active note in the area of Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”)/anti-money laundering (“AML”) compliance, with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the “FDIC”), the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) all contributing to the ongoing dialogues regarding “de-risking” and heightened regulatory expectations.
    Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
    SEC Proposes Disclosure Rules on Hedging Policies
    Published on February 10, 2015
    Yesterday, the SEC proposed rules requiring disclosure of hedging policies for directors, officers and employees of U.S. public companies. These rules would require each public company to disclose, in any proxy or information statement relating to director elections, whether its directors, officers or employees are permitted to engage in transactions to hedge or offset any decrease in the market value of equity securities of the public company or its affiliates. The rules would cover both equity securities granted as part of compensation and those otherwise held directly or indirectly and would require disclosure of the categories of hedging transactions a public company permits and those it prohibits.
    Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
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