Regulatory support, supply procurement, and market design

Overview
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Bates White’s experts leverage extensive energy market, financial, and litigation experience to address complex regulatory issues, including the design and evaluation of electric utility and gas procurement methods, the assessment of market structure and presence of market power, and the design of centralized market mechanisms.

Procurement support and evaluation

Bates White’s experts develop and manage power supply procurement plans, including auctions and RFPs, for a wide variety of supply alternatives (such as PPAs and tolling and turnkey agreements). We create innovative hybrid mechanisms for supporting independent investment. Whether supplying standard offer service, meeting supply needs for native load, addressing complex financial issues such as “debt equivalency,” or supporting competition in hybrid markets, our professionals can manage the procurement process from concept through evaluation and approval to ensure efficient and fair outcomes.

Auction design and analysis

Auctions offer an efficient, rules-based method to ensure competitive results—whether in energy supply procurement, asset divestiture, or block power sales. Bates White’s experts are at the forefront of auction theory and have experience in the design, implementation, and administration of successful auctions. We provide independent evaluation of auction design, implementation, bidding behavior, and the competitiveness of auction outcomes.

Market-based rate proceedings

Utilities, independent power producers, power marketers, and other market participants that wish to sell power in wholesale markets at prices determined by supply and demand (rather than at regulated cost-based rates) must obtain market-based rate (MBR) authority from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Bates White provides economic analyses of wholesale market competitiveness required by FERC in applications for MBR authority. Our experts have experience applying FERC’s two required “indicative screen” tests, as well as its Delivered Price Test (DPT) in all regions of the U.S. We prepare supporting affidavits, testify in dispute proceedings, and identify measures to mitigate competitive concerns.

Market design and competition

The competitiveness of power markets rests on market design, implementation. and monitoring appropriate to the market context. Changes to the market context—for instance, through integration of demand response and increased penetration of renewables—may affect the appropriateness and effectiveness of current market designs. Bates White has extensive experience evaluating critical components of market designs, recommending detailed design strategies, assessing the competitiveness of specific markets, and providing expert testimony before state public utility commissions, federal regulators, and legislative committees.

Transmission siting and permitting

With the anticipated integration of large volumes of wind generation and potential impacts from greenhouse gas legislation, the evaluation of large-scale transmission proposals is an increasingly complex process with great implications for the efficiency of the power system. While federal policy aims to facilitate needed investment, transmission siting and permitting is receiving increased scrutiny at state and local levels. Bates White uses sophisticated analytical tools to evaluate proposed transmission projects, including impacts on generation asset utilization, locational marginal prices, and the value of financial transmission rights. We assist project proponents and regulators in evaluating the benefits of proposed transmission projects relative to both cost and other transmission and nontransmission alternatives.

Market power

We combine extensive knowledge of FERC regulatory proceedings with sophisticated analytical tools to deliver rigorous, defensible market power analysis and testimony. In assessing market participants’ ability to exercise market power in MBR proceedings and utility merger applications, a lack of consideration of transmission constraints can lead to flawed conclusions. To avoid this, we use state-of-the-art power system and transmission modeling tools to integrate patterns of internal and external transmission constraints into DPT analysis.