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Latham & Watkins Secures Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Win for Avangrid

February 7, 2023
Firm’s Energy Regulatory & Markets group advised the sustainable energy company on milestone that helps clear a significant hurdle for the completion of Avangrid’s US$1 billion NECEC transmission line from Canada to Massachusetts.

Following a complaint by Avangrid’s NECEC Transmission LLC (Avangrid) against NextEra Seabrook, LLC (NextEra) on October 13, 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order on February 1, 2023 granting the relief Avangrid sought in the complaint – namely, requiring NextEra to construct a 24.5 kV generation circuit breaker and ancillary equipment required for the Avangrid transmission project to interconnect to the ISO-NE, Inc. regional grid; and prohibited NextEra from requiring that Avangrid compensate NextEra for lost opportunity costs and legal fees. This is consistent with standard interconnection and tariff practices across the country.  

At stake in the matter was Avangrid’s US$1 billion NECEC transmission project, a 145-mile power line designed to deliver 9.45 million MWh a year from Canada to Massachusetts utilities, which spawned from proposals by Massachusetts regulators for increased amounts of renewable energy to assist the Commonwealth in meeting its renewable energy goals. Avangrid’s victory at FERC now requires NextEra to cooperate with Avangrid to install a circuit breaker at its Seabrook nuclear plant in New Hampshire and prevents NextEra from seeking ISO-NE market revenues during construction. Construction of the breaker is anticipated to occur in 2024. 

Latham & Watkins LLP advised Avangrid on the FERC cases with a team led by Washington, D.C. partner Dave Schwartz, with associates Jamie Blackburn and Richard Griffin.