Category: Regulation

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California Extends Cap-and-Trade Through 2030

On July 25, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation extending the state’s cap-and-trade program through 2030. The signing ceremony for Assembly Bill (AB) 398 included former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who signed the first state statute authorizing cap-and-trade in 2006, AB 32.  The ceremony cemented the deal that Governor Brown struck with California lawmakers, … Continue Reading

MN PUC Establishes New Environmental Costs for Use in All Proceedings

Today, the MN PUC concluded a nearly four-year effort on updating environmental costs established under section 216B.2422 subd. 3 of the Minnesota Statutes.  Before getting to the decision, a bit of context. Background: Under section 216B.2422, the MN PUC is required to, “to the extent practicable, quantify and establish a range of environmental costs associated with each … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Denies Request to Review Cap-and-Trade Case

Yesterday the California Supreme Court denied a petition for review of the cap-and-trade lawsuits brought by a coalition of business interests, headed by the California Chamber of Commerce and Morning Star Packing Company. The Court of Appeal decision issued in April 2017, which upheld the legality of California’s cap-and-trade auctions in the related cases California Chamber … Continue Reading

Updates to Energy Related Bills in the 2017-2018 California Legislative Session

Stoel Rives’ Energy Team has been monitoring and providing summaries of key energy-related bills introduced by California legislators since the beginning of the 2017-2018 Legislative Session. June 2, 2017 was the deadline by which the legislature was required to pass bills out of the house of origin.  Failing to meet that deadline does not automatically … Continue Reading

MPUC Approves Multi-Year Rate Case Settlement, Opens Docket to Develop Performance Metrics

Yesterday, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (“MPUC”) approved a settlement between Xcel Energy and various intervening stakeholders, to resolve the revenue requirement issues in Xcel Energy’s pending multi-year rate increase.  The MPUC appeared to struggle with accepting the settlement in lieu of the full evidentiary record it is used to on financial issues.  Nonetheless, it … Continue Reading

Updates to Energy Related Bills in the 2017-2018 California Legislative Session

In our first post, the Stoel Rives’ Energy Team provided a summary of energy related bills introduced by California legislators during the first half of the 2017-2018 Legislative Session. Provided below is a summary of changes to bills we have been following, as well as a list of energy related bills not included in our … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeals Upholds California’s Cap-and-Trade Program

On Thursday, a 2-1 decision by the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento upheld California’s program to reduce carbon emissions. California’s controversial and signature cap-and-trade program creates a firm limit on carbon emissions and auctions allowances that permit companies to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Covered entities are generally large emitters of greenhouse … Continue Reading

California Lawmakers Introduce Clean Peak Standard Legislation

Two new bills, similar in concept but differing in approach, seek to align renewable energy output with peak electricity demand. Currently, the California Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires investor-owned utilities to procure 50% of total retail sales of electricity from renewable energy resources by 2030. If enacted, the bills would expand the RPS from a … Continue Reading

Brief Overview of President Trump’s Energy Independence Executive Order

Section 1 of the Order sets forth various policy objectives, many of which (e.g., clean, reliable, affordable, safe energy) are goals that should garner bi-partisan support.  How these policies are interpreted by the various heads of agencies will be one factor guiding America’s energy future.  Another policy factor may be critical, contained in section 1(d), … Continue Reading

President Trump Holds Press Conference and Signs Energy Independence Executive Order

President Trump and four executives of his administration held a press conference this afternoon in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA’s”) Map Room. Rick Perry (Secretary of Energy), Ryan Zinke (Secretary of Interior), Scott Pruitt (EPA Administrator), and Vice President Michael Pence provided opening remarks, flanked by coal mining representatives.  Secretary Perry started by noting it … Continue Reading

New Report Identifies Cleantech Market Opportunities in Southern California

If you’re looking for a new cleantech startup idea, the San Diego Regional Energy Innovation Network (SD-REIN) recently released a report that identifies cleantech market opportunities in the Southern California region. The report, entitled “Regional Energy Technology Priorities and Needs,” was presented at an SD-REIN meeting on March 9, 2017. It will be used to … Continue Reading

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

Oregon PUC Issues Guidance on Energy Storage Program

Actions are underway  at the Oregon Public Utility Commission (the “PUC”) to implement HB 2193, Oregon’s energy storage legislation.  HB 2193 requires that PacifiCorp and Portland General Electric (“PGE”) submit proposals for energy storage systems capable of storing at least 5 MWh of energy – with an aggregate capacity not to exceed one percent of … Continue Reading

Katie Sieben Appointed to Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, and Nancy Lange Appointed as Chair

Yesterday, Governor Mark Dayton announced his appointment of Minnesota State Senator Katie Sieben to a six-year term on the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC). He also appointed current MPUC commissioner Nancy Lange as chair of the MPUC, filling the vacancy left by outgoing chair Beverly Jones Heydinger. Both Sieben and Lange will begin their terms … Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Final Revised Eagle Rule

Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published notice in the Federal Register of a long-anticipated final rule revising its eagle permitting regulations (Revised Eagle Rule). Concurrent with the Revised Eagle Rule, the Service issued a Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) analyzing the Eagle Rule revision under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). … 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

What You Need to Know about the Proposed Revisions to California’s Cap and Trade Program

Late Tuesday, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) released draft amendments to California’s cap and trade regulation, including revisions to the current program in place through 2020, an extension of the program through 2030, and setting the stage for continued emissions reductions under the program through 2050. ARB’s proposed amendments come in the middle of … 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

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Proposed Changes to Eagle Permit Regulations, Opens 60-Day Comment Period

Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published notice in the Federal Register of proposed changes to its eagle permitting regulations (Proposed Rule).  Concurrent with the Proposed Rule, the Service issued a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (DPEIS) analyzing the proposed changes under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and a Status Report that … Continue Reading

Developer Requests Clarification of Minnesota PUC’s Community Solar Garden Order

Minnesota solar developer SolarStone Partners, LLC filed a Motion for Clarification of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s September 2014 Order Approving Solar-Garden Plan with Modifications. Specifically, SolarStone is requesting clarification of the Commission’s interpretation of the requirement in the Community Solar Garden Statute that a project must be located within the utility’s service territory. One … 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

U.S Fish and Wildlife Service Opts Not to Appeal 30-Year Eagle Rule Decision, Focuses on Development of Eagle Permitting Program

On January 19, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) dropped its Ninth Circuit appeal of U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh’s ruling that set aside the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“Service”) rule to extend the maximum term for programmatic “take” permits under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (“Eagle Act”) to 30 years … 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
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