Category: Regulation

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ALJ Recommends MN PUC Partially Disallow Xcel Energy’s $400 Million Cost Overrun on Monticello Project

Today marked the release of the highly anticipated report and recommendations from the Administrative Law Judge tasked with reviewing Xcel Energy’s handling of the life cycle management and extended power uprate (LCM/EPU) projects  The MN PUC initiated review of the LCM/EPU projects at the conclusion of Xcel Energy’s 2012 electric rate case after learning that … Continue Reading

Minnesota Community Solar Gardens Forecast: Partly Sunny with a Chance of Rain

Within days of its open on December 12, 2014, Xcel Energy’s Minnesota Community Solar Garden (CSG) Program had well over 300 MW worth of CSG applications submitted and by this writing nearly 430 MW.  The rush of significant application creates a question of “who’s in line first?”  That was the question before the Minnesota Public … Continue Reading

Initial Take: Xcel Energy’s 2016-2013 Integrated Resource Plan for Minnesota

Today, Xcel Energy filed its 2016 – 2030 Integrated Resource Plan.  Xcel Energy’s proposal is fairly significant in scope – it proposes to cut CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030, add new renewable and natural gas generating resources, and lay the stage for reforming the resource planning process conistent with its framework filing and proposals from … Continue Reading

Xcel Energy Submits Framework Filing in Response to e21 Report

Today, Northern States Power Company, d/b/a Xcel Energy, submitted a filing to initiate a discussion with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission regarding the recently released e21 Phase I Report (see our blog post here).  Key components of Xcel Energy’s proposal to begin implementing the e21 Initiative’s vision include: Lead the effort to achieve carbon reduction by 40% … Continue Reading

Minnesota Stakes its Claim as a National Leader on Energy Regulatory Reform with Release of e21 Report

Today marks the release of the highly anticipated report from the Minnesota e21 Initiative (e21 stands for 21st Century Energy System).  The Great Plains Institute assembled a diverse range of stakeholders, including utilities, ratepayer advocates, environmental advocates, and independent power producer advocates, to discuss regulatory reform in Minnesota to accomodate anticipated changes to our energy system.  The e21 … Continue Reading

Energizing Discussion at Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal Offices

I had the honor this morning to feature on a panel of experts convened by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal to discuss the topic of ”The Future of Energy.” Moderated by John Kearney of the Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association, the panel included Kenneth Smith, President and CEO of Ever-Green Energy, Ken Bradley, Director of … Continue Reading

California PUC Comissioner Michael Peevy to Step Down

Last Thursday, longtime California Public Utilities Comissioner and President Michael Peevy announced he would not seek reappointment at the end of this year, when his second six-year term with the CPUC expires. In making his announcement, Peevy issued the following statement: “I originally planned to make the following announcement at the CPUC’s regularly-scheduled Voting Meeting on October … Continue Reading

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

Businesses and Policymakers Confirm Mexican Energy Reforms Are Gaining Momentum

Earlier this year, a group of Stoel Rives attorneys traveled to Mexico to assess existing opportunities and pending developments in the Mexican power markets.  Some of the reforms and key trends identified during that trip are now taking shape. See also my blog post “Let the Market Decide: The Third Wave of Energy Investment in … 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
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