FERC mulls rival plans at the last minute, while on the West Coast, California gets into the game.
When FERC law judge Bobbie J. McCartney issued her initial decision back in June, weighing in at 280 pages, plus 2,435 footnotes, she already had accepted the basic structure of the ISO New England (ISO-NE) LICAP plan to create a location-specific market for installed electric generating capacity. That's because, in prior rulings, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) had told her to do so.
In its prior rulings, FERC had accepted the basic legitimacy of LICAP, with its twin concepts of: (A) a downward-sloping demand curve; and (B) some method to assure capacity availability in load pockets or constrained areas, such as a deliverability requirement or, as eventually proposed, a set of different obligations, auctions, and prices for each of five geographic market areas within New England.
As far as the commission was concerned, it wanted to limit further debate to the finer-grained details of LICAP. Such details would include, for example, the exact parameters of the sloping demand curve, the method(s) for defining plant availability, and measures for combating capacity withholding and minimizing market power.