Category: Energy Policy

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California Energy Related Bills Introduced in the 2017-2018 Legislative Session

February 17, 2017 marked the deadline by which legislators had to introduce bills for the first half of the 2017-2018 Legislative Session. The Stoel Rives’ Energy Team has been and will continue to monitor bills throughout the two-year session and will provide periodic updates as to the status of those bills. Most noteworthy here is … Continue Reading

FERC Revises Delegation Authority While It Lacks a Quorum

Today is Commissioner Norman Bay’s last day on the job at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which means that on Monday, FERC will no longer have the quorum of 3 commissioners that is necessary for it to do much of its business.  (Two other vacancies have gone unfilled for months.)  Earlier today, Acting Chairman … Continue Reading

Wyoming: Partying Like It’s 1899

Wyoming has one of the nation’s best wind resources.  But if a contingent of state senators and representatives there have their way, electric utilities located in the state will be slapped on the wrist for using it (or other renewables, for that matter).  Senate File 71, which has been introduced in the Wyoming State Senate and … Continue Reading

While Washington DC Wrestles with Ratings, Massachusetts Proposes 100% Renewables by 2035/2050

Amidst all the focus in Washington DC over inauguration crowd sizes, at least one state is instead focusing on matters affecting jobs, security, and quality of life–renewable energy!  A bill (SD.1932) introduced in Massachusetts would require the state to use 100% renewable energy for electricity by 2035 and also seeks to deeply cut fossil fuels … Continue Reading

New BLM Wind and Solar Development Guidelines on Public Lands Expected Soon

With a goal to spur wind and solar development on public lands, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is expected to soon release a new rule that will streamline approval of new renewable energy projects. First proposed for advance notice and comment in 2011, the rule would amend BLM regulations at 43 C.F.R. §§ 2800 … Continue Reading

NARUC Accepting Comments on Draft Distributed Energy Resources Manual that Seeks to Guide Regulators Through Tricky Territory

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) recently issued a draft manual on distributed energy resources (DER) compensation to assist jurisdictions in navigating the challenges and policy considerations associated with this hot button issue. The release of the manual marks the first time NARUC has specifically weighed in on DER compensation issues. DERs are … Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Panel Rules Minnesota Climate Change Law Unconstitutional

Today, the Eighth Circuit determined that the Next Generation Energy Act (“NGEA”), a Minnesota law that established power sector standards for carbon dioxide emissions, was unconstitutional (decision available here). In so doing, the Court affirmed the decision of District Court Judge Susan Nelson, whose 2014 decision we covered in “Court Declares Minnesota Coal Law Unconstitutional: … Continue Reading

Stoel Rives Partner Jon Wellinghoff to Join SolarCity as Chief Policy Officer

I just wanted to pass along word to readers that Stoel Rives partner and Renewable + Law blog author Jon Wellinghoff will be leaving us to join SolarCity as their new Chief Policy Officer. Read SolarCity’s  official announcement. We’ve enjoyed working with Jon as a member of the Stoel Rives Energy Team. We’d like to … Continue Reading

Oregon legislators pass historic renewable energy bill, with 50% RPS and coal-fired electricity phaseout

Oregon legislators passed Senate Bill (SB) 1547 into law yesterday, creating aggressive timetables for eliminating coal-fired electricity from the State and setting a 50% Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by 2040. A diverse group of utilities, consumer advocacy organizations, and renewable energy advocates support the bill.  Next stop for SB 1547 is Oregon Governor Katherine Brown’s … Continue Reading

All Sides Agree on Maine’s Replacement of Net Energy Metering

Maine appears poised to replace its net-energy metering (NEM) program with new legislation that is projected to increase the state’s solar photovoltaics (PV) penetration by over 12 times the current installed capacity by 2022. The legislation has the support of a broad coalition of consumer advocates, utilities, solar installers and environmental advocates, by contrast to … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Stays Clean Power Plan Implementation: Next Steps

Ed. – originally authored by Kevin Johnson and Thomas Wood. The U.S. Supreme Court’s order on February 9, 2016 staying EPA’s implementation of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) will create at least a year of uncertainty about the shape of the future electric power regulatory framework, with implications for states, utilities and other electric power … Continue Reading

California CPUC Votes to Retain Net Metering, With Modifications

The California Public Utilities Commission yesterday adopted – by a 3-2 vote – a proposed decision revising the net energy metering (NEM) tariff for customers of the state’s three largest utilities who install renewable distributed generation (DG) on their properties. To the dismay of the dissenting commissioners, the final decision adopted late proposed changes that exclude … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds FERC Demand Response Rule in Energy Story of the Year

In the biggest consumer energy story of the day, and perhaps the decade, the U.S. Supreme Court today upheld FERC’s jurisdictional authority in FERC Order 745. Read the Decision here (PDF). The so called Demand Response Rule permits consumer energy products and services, such as demand response, to participate in wholesale energy markets, and to … Continue Reading

Utah PSC Compromises, Reduces Maximum PPA Contract Terms under PURPA to 15 Years

The Utah Public Service Commission (PSC) issued its decision today on PacifiCorp’s request to shorten the maximum term of power purchase agreements (PPAs) with qualifying facilities (QFs) from 20 years to three years.  The PSC agreed to reduce the maximum term from 20 to 15 years, concluding:  “We believe a 15-year term strikes the appropriate … Continue Reading

Xcel Energy’s Community Solar Garden Tariff Final this Friday

*Update: Xcel has now filed its revised tariff (pdf) The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission published its Order (pdf) Tuesday approving Xcel Energy’s revised tariff for its Community Solar Garden Program contingent on certain changes being made. After Xcel Energy filed its tariff following programmatic changes made by the Commission earlier in the year, several parties objected … Continue Reading

CPUC Proposes to Preserve Retail Rates for Residential Distributed Generation

The California Public Utilities Commission released a proposed decision yesterday in its proceeding concerning the future of net energy metering (NEM) for customers of the state’s three largest utilities who install renewable distributed generation (DG) on their properties. In comments filed in early-August, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SGE), and San Diego … Continue Reading

Guest Post: Decoding the Paris Climate Agreement

In Paris over the weekend nearly 190 countries reached a landmark international agreement on climate change. My friend Gerard Wynn of GWG Energy has written an excellent explainer on exactly what was agreed to. Gerard has kindly agreed to let us share his post with Renewable + Law blog readers. His post follows below. [Originally … Continue Reading

Effort to Revolutionize CA’s Electric Utility System Clears First Hurdle to 2016 Ballot

Supporters aiming to transform California’s electric utility system are taking another shot at getting the issue on the ballot in 2016. The ballot measure would establish the publicly owned California Electric Utility District and would eliminate the state’s investor owned utilities (“IOUs”) like Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & … Continue Reading

Citing Costs and Timing, PUC Denies Xcel Energy’s Request for Contested Case

During a public hearing yesterday, the Public Utilities Commission denied Xcel Energy’s request for a contested case hearing for the next stage of developing the Minnesota Community Solar Garden Program (the “CSG Program”). Instead, the PUC decided to proceed with the notice and comment process similar to the previously utilized process for the CSG Program. … Continue Reading

Xcel Delivers Final – For Now – Community Solar Garden Program Rules

Xcel filed its revised tariff for the Community Solar Garden Program yesterday, in compliance with and response to the Minnesota Public Utility Commission’s August 6, 2015 and October 15, 2015 orders. The revised tariff contains numerous changes to Xcel’s September 15, 2015 draft tariff proposal, a few of which are highlighted below.  Xcel clarified that … Continue Reading

MPUC Sets Community Solar Tariff Schedule and Clarifies Previous Order

On Thursday, October 15, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) released an order addressing several issues in the Community Solar Garden Program proceeding. The order requires Xcel to file compliance tariffs for the program within five days, and the MPUC will order that the tariffs become effective seven days after filing, “unless the Department or another … Continue Reading

SCOTUS Entertains Oral Argument on FERC Order 745, the “Demand Response” Rule

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument this morning in FERC v. Energy Power Supply Association. At issue is the validity of FERC’s Order 745, the so-called “demand response” compensation rule. Full text of the rule (PDF). As some of our readers may recall, I was FERC Chairman when Order 745 was issued. While the legal arguments got … Continue Reading

BREAKING NEWS: Xcel Energy Announces Commitment to Cease Coal-Fired Operations at Sherco Units 1 and 2

Xcel Energy announced this afternoon its intent to cease coal-fired generation at Sherco Units 1 and 2 in 2026 and 2023, respectively, while adding 1,200 MW of new renewable sources (800 MW of wind and 400 MW of solar) by 2020.  According to the Xcel Energy website, Sherco Unit 1 has a generating capacity of 680 MW … Continue Reading

California Legislative Session Wrap-up

Last Friday, September 11, 2015 was the final day for California legislators to pass bills out of the Legislature and on to Governor Jerry Brown for consideration. This year’s crop of bills included something for both sides of the aisle on energy and climate change issues: from the proposed repeal of AB 32, the California … Continue Reading
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