Category: Regulation

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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

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

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

CPUC Set to Tackle Net Metering Debate with New Distributed Generation Tariff

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) could soon make big changes to how rooftop solar installations function in the state. Under Assembly Bill 327, enacted in 2013, the CPUC has until December 31, 2015 to “develop a standard contract or tariff” that applies to “customer-generators” who own rooftop solar installations or other distributed generation and … 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

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Determines Protection for Greater Sage-Grouse No Longer Warranted

In a speech at the Rocky Mountain National Wildlife Refuge, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced yesterday that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) will not list the greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Finding that protection under the ESA is no longer warranted due to an “unprecedented conservation partnership,” the USFWS announced that it was … 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

Court Invalidates 30-Year Permit Provisions of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Eagle Permit Rule on NEPA Grounds

As we discussed in this post from May 2014, the American Bird Conservancy (“ABC”) in 2014 filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“USFWS”) 2013 revisions to its eagle permit rule, alleging violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) and the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). ABC’s challenge related to the revised … Continue Reading

Gov. Dayton Signs 2015 Jobs and Energy Bill into Law

On Saturday, June 13, Governor Dayton signed the 2015 Jobs and Energy Bill into Law.  Our prior coverage of this bill can be found here and here.  The following amendments were made after the Governor’s veto: New definitions for “propane,” “propane storage facility,” and “synthetic gas.” New net metering provision that applies to cooperative electric … Continue Reading

MN Special Session Jobs and Energy Bill Posted

As a follow up to our prior coverage, Governor Dayton vetoed the jobs and energy bill that passed in the final few minutes of the 2015 regular legislative session.  Governor Dayton’s veto letter can be found here. After significant negotiations, the legislature finally posted a revised version of the legislation in its 2015 1st Special … Continue Reading

USFWS to Evaluate New Incidental Take Permitting Program Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) published notice in the Federal Register announcing that it intends to prepare a programmatic environmental impact statement to evaluate the effects of a program that would authorize incidental take under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (“MBTA”). Although the Service has MBTA regulations that authorize the issuance of … Continue Reading

Sprint to the Finish! Fast Work at the Conclusion of the 2015 Minnesota Legislative Session Results in Few but Significant Energy Policy Changes

In a literal sprint to the finish, the Minnesota legislature passed a bill, which included energy policy provisions as part of a Senate Floor Amendment, just seconds before the State constitutional deadline. Pertinent energy policy provisions were included in Article 3 of that amendment and are briefly summarized below: If the MN PUC orders a … Continue Reading

Governor Brown Announces New 2030 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target for California

This morning, California Governor Jerry Brown announced Executive Order B-30-15, setting a target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the state to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. The 2030 target acts as an interim goal on the way to achieving reductions of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, a goal set by former … Continue Reading

Jon Wellinghoff Joins Blogger Team at Renewable + Law Blog

Hi there, this is Jon Wellinghoff, former FERC chair and current Stoel Rives partner. I’m pleased to announce that effective today I have joined the Stoel Rives Renewable + Law blogger team. We thought it would be useful to share with you blog readers some of my thinking and writing on the topic of energy … Continue Reading

USFWS Publishes Northern Long-Eared Bat Listing Decision, Opts for Interim 4(d) Rule

In a long-anticipated move, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”)has published a final listing decision and interim rule on the northern long-eared bat. The Service listed the northern long-eared bat as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), and, rather than publishing a final 4(d) rule, opted to publish an interim 4(d) rule and … Continue Reading

Rep. Garofalo Posts Bold Minnesota Energy Omnibus Bill

Late this afternoon, Rep. Pat Garofalo posted a bold and significant omnibus bill on the web page for the Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee of the Minnesota House of Representatives.  This author has not gone through the bill in detail, but calls out the following provisions as noteworthy based on a quick review … Continue Reading

MN PUC Approves First Minnesota Multiyear Plan, But Work Remains on Implementation

Yesterday, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (the “Commission”) met to address the first general rate case filed under section 216B.16 subd. 19 of the Minnesota Statutes. Northern States Power Company, a Minnesota Corporation, d/b/a Xcel Energy submitted the multiyear rate petition on November 4, 2013. In that petition, Xcel Energy asked for an increase in … Continue Reading
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