Category: Regulation

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MN PUC Affirms Path of Contentious Litigation for Externalities Value Determination

The MN PUC held a hearing on September 4, 2014, to address the impending investigation of social costs of pollutants under Minn. Stat. § 216B.2422 subd. 3 (known as externalities values).  First established in the late 1990s, the MN PUC re-opened the investigation in a February 2014 Order, focusing exclusively on PM2.5, SO2, NOx, and … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rolls Back EPA’s Regulation of Greenhouse Gases in Utility Air Regulatory Group Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court has delivered a stunner with its decision this morning in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency. The Supreme Court has curtailed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation of stationary source greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under two Clean Air Act permitting programs – New Source Review Prevention of Significant Deterioration … Continue Reading

The Price of Developing Power Projects in Kern County Just Went UP

The East Kern Wind Resource Area (EKWRA)–it’s a mouthful–and it’s also a hotbed for renewable energy development and the location of a fight over millions of dollars among Southern California Edison (SCE), the California ISO, and independent power developers (IPPs).  Late last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) scored that fight in favor of … Continue Reading

California’s Utilities Must Lower Barriers to Energy Storage Systems

In a proposed decision issued yesterday from the California Public Utilities Commission, an administrative law judge (ALJ) determined that energy storage devices (i) that are paired with net energy metering- (NEM) eligible generation facilities, and (ii) that meet the Renewables Portfolio Standard Eligibility Guidebook requirements to be considered an "addition or enhancement" to NEM-eligible systems are "exempt from interconnection application … Continue Reading

Ameren Should LOSE the Latest Battle Over Option 1 Network Upgrade Funding in the Midcontinent ISO Region

Ameren is dusting off a discriminatory method for interconnection customers to fund network upgrades in the Midcontinent ISO region, using two past victories in support of its campaign. But there are key differences between this dispute and those before it, and FERC should deny Ameren's latest attempt to breathe life into the Option 1 funding that met its fate years ago.… Continue Reading

Minnesota Legislature Looks to Jump Start Renewable Energy Exports

The Minnesota State Legislature is currently debating a bill that would ease the regulatory burden on independent power producers looking to export wind and solar energy generated in Minnesota. Minnesota law currently prohibits the construction of a large energy facility without the issuance of a certificate of need by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. This … Continue Reading

Minnesota Utilitites and Stakeholders Meet to Kick Off e21 Initiative

Xcel Energy, Minnesota Power, Center for Energy and Environment, George Washington University, and other stakeholders participated in the first e21 Initiative meeting on February 28. The e21 Initiative aims to develop a new or adapted regulatory framework that addresses the challenges of the evolving energy economy and shifting technological landscape. There will be three phases for this … Continue Reading

Ralls Continues to Fight Presidential Divestiture Order Stemming from CFIUS Investigation

Ralls Corp., a privately-held company owned by executives of the China-based heavy machinery manufacturing conglomerate Sany Group, recently filed an appeal in its ongoing effort to avoid President Obama’s order requiring the company to divest itself of its interest in four wind farms in Oregon. We have previously reported on the order, which was issued … Continue Reading

Stoel Rives Analyzes 2013 CFIUS Annual Report

We last reported to you about Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) activities in connection with the Ralls Corporation case. CFIUS is a multi-agency U.S. government committee charged with reviewing foreign acquisitions of U.S. businesses for national security implications The committee recently released its unclassified Annual Report to Congress for 2013 regarding … Continue Reading

Nebraska Sues U.S. EPA Over Proposed Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for New Power Plants

Nebraska filed suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in federal court on Wednesday, challenging the agency’s newly proposed standards for greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants. Nebraska argues that EPA’s proposed regulation, officially released last week, violates the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The Act prohibits EPA from considering new technology or a level … Continue Reading

California Air Resources Board Issues Draft Update to AB 32 Scoping Plan

This week the California Air Resources Board (ARB) released a draft of its AB 32 Climate Change Scoping Plan Update. The original Scoping Plan was adopted in 2008 and must be updated every five years. The Scoping Plan serves as a blueprint for achieving AB 32’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. … Continue Reading

Minnesota Supreme Court Affirms Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s Interpretation and Application of State Law and Distinguishes Bluefield

On November 2, 2009, just one day after the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s (the "Commission’s") final order in Minnesota Power’s 2008 rate case, Minnesota Power filed its largest petition ever to increase electric rates.  As part of its petition, and consistent with Minnesota law, Minnesota Power sought to impose interim rates – the rates Minnesota … Continue Reading

Energy Project Permitting Receives a Boost from New Sage Grouse Habitat Law

Over 40 percent of the lands in Malheur County have been designated as core habitat for sage grouse by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife ("ODFW"). Other counties in southeastern Oregon are also heavily affected. ODFW’s approach was to simply recommend against any development in core habitat, without consideration whether off-site mitigation could result … Continue Reading

Tentative Ruling Issued in California Cap and Trade Auction Lawsuit

A tentative ruling was issued yesterday in the related cases California Chamber of Commerce v. California Air Resources Board (ARB)  and  Morning Star Packing Co. v. ARB, pending before the Sacramento County Superior Court.  The cases challenge the legality of ARB’s cap and trade auctions under two theories:  (1) the cap and trade auctions exceed ARB’s authority … Continue Reading

Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act Compliance: A “New Normal”?

As we discussed in this alert, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) released its final Eagle Conservation Plan Guidance (ECP Guidance) on April 26, 2013. Intended to promote compliance with the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) for wind development projects that have the potential to affect bald and golden eagles, the ECP … Continue Reading

Administrative Law Judge Recommends 4.7 Percent Increase for Xcel Energy’s Minnesota Customers

On July 8, 2013, Xcel Energy Inc., submitted a filing with the SEC detailing an Administrative Law Judge’s decision in a pending electric rate case in Minnesota and calculating the decision’s impact on one of its subsidiaries. In November 2012, Northern States Power Company (NSP), a wholly owned subsidiary of Xcel Energy Inc., petitioned the Minnesota Public … Continue Reading

Xcel Recommends “No Action” on Two of Minnesota’s Largest Coal-Fired Units

Last November, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved Xcel Energy’s 2011-2025 Integrated Resource Plan and established various compliance filing requirements and deadlines. Pursuant to that November 2012 Order, the Commission directed Xcel to conduct a Life Cycle Management Study (“LCM Study”) examining the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of continuing to operate, retrofitting, or retiring Sherburne County (Sherco) … Continue Reading
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