Tag: Minnesota Public Utilities Commission

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

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

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

Minnesota Power Requests Proposals for Wind; Solar, Demand Response & Customer Self-Generation to Follow

Minnesota Power released a Request for Proposals (RFP) yesterday for up to 300 MW of wind generation, with proposals due by September 7, 2016. A copy of the RFP and additional details are available at http://www.mnpower.com/Company/PowerSupplyRFP. Minnesota Power also filed its press release with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC). Minnesota Power will also release … Continue Reading

Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Approves Some Changes to Community Solar Program, Declines Other Changes

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) approved several major changes to Xcel Energy’s Community Solar Garden (CSG) program yesterday, while also voting to maintain other aspects of the CSG program. Mike Hughlett of the Star Tribune has this report. The MPUC’s decisions are summarized below: Bill Credit Rate Declined to modify the Applicable Retail Rate at … 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

MN Court of Appeals Upholds PUC’s Community Solar Order

The Minnesota Court of Appeals filed its decision today affirming the Public Utilities Commission’s August 6, 2015 Order in the community solar garden proceeding, which adopted the partial settlement agreement between certain solar developers and Xcel Energy and decided several crucial aspects of Xcel’s community solar program, including the 5 MW cap on co-located gardens.  … 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

Xcel Energy Reports 24 Community Solar Garden Projects are Beginning Construction

Xcel Energy filed its monthly report for the Community Solar Garden program with the Public Utilities Commission last week, revealing that 24 projects are moving to the beginning stages of construction. Xcel also reports that, “after receiving over 600 applications in the surge to submit co-located projects, the pace has slowed considerably.” There are currently … 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

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

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

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

To Need or Not to Need, that is the Question: MN PUC Answers in the Affirmative

On Monday, the MN PUC addressed whether ‘tis nobler in the pocketbook to suffer the slings and arrows of the MISO market or to invest in new generating units against a sea of uncertainty. As we noted in prior blogs, the MN PUC initiated the competitive process seeking bids to meet a claimed capacity need … Continue Reading

Minnesota Community Solar Garden Program Approved, Set to Open

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission today issued its long-awaited Order approving (with modifications) Xcel Energy’s Community Solar Garden (CSG) Program – Solar Rewards*Community.  The Order starts the clock for the program to open no later than 90 days from issuance of the Order (mid-December) and officially plows the furrow for community solar projects in Minnesota.  It … 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

Value-of-Solar is Delayed; Minnesota Community Solar Gardens Move Forward

Yesterday, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (“MPUC”) approved Xcel Energy’s first Minnesota-based Community Solar Garden (CSG) program. After Xcel’s initial program filing was rejected by the MPUC in April, Xcel filed a revised CSG tariff with the MPUC in June. In a related filing, Xcel also argued that a  value of solar (“VOS”) rate for … Continue Reading

Court Declares Minnesota Coal Law Unconstitutional: Electrons Favor the Laws of Physics to Those of Governments

Minnesota legislators passed the Next Generation Energy Act in 2007 which, in part, established power sector standards for carbon dioxide emissions. As a result Minn. Stat. §216H.03 now provides that no person shall: Construct within a state a new large energy facility that would contribute to statewide power sector carbon dioxide emissions; Import or commit to … 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

Fake Punt! Minnesota Commission Immediately Reevaluates Motion, Advances Solar Plus One (or more) Gas Plants

In a follow up to our prior post, we now report that the Minnesota Commission subsequently modified its initial decision to clarify that Xcel Energy is directed to negotiate a power purchase agreement with the solar bidder, which will be reviewed by the Commission to ensure the terms are consistent with the public interest. Xcel … Continue Reading

Minnesota Commission Punts on Resource Decision: Keeps Solar in the Game

After the years of inconclusive resource planning, months of contested case proceedings, and days of oral argument, discussion and review that led to today’s deliberations, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (“Commission”) unanimously decided not to decide. The ultimate question before the Commission was what capacity needs had been determined in the record and what should … Continue Reading
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