Tag: Solar Energy

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

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

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

CPUC Adopts Transitional Net Metering Rules for Pre-Existing Distributed Generation Systems

On Thursday, March 27, 2014, the California Public Utilities Commission established rules for transitioning distributed generation renewable energy systems from the current net energy metering  (NEM) arrangement to the successor tariff which will be adopted by the CPUC in 2015. The decision, D.14-03-041, was mandated by last year’s passage of AB 327, requiring implementation of … 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

Negotiating a Liquidated Damages Clause in Texas? Get Out Your Crystal Ball.

If you are drafting a liquidated damages clause that applies Texas law, a decision today by the Supreme Court of Texas might encourage you to hire an oracle. Because if you negotiate a liquidated damages provision in a "second-look" state without using the power of divination, you may be surprised when a once-reasonable estimate of damages becomes unenforceable because of subsequent changes in the market.… Continue Reading

Value of Solar Achieves a New Dawn in Minnesota

Yesterday afternoon, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved the methodology for calculating value of solar (VOS) tariffs in Minnesota as developed by the Department of Commerce. In doing so, Minnesota became the first in the nation to adopt a VOS tariff methodology. The Commission was required by statute to take action on the VOS calculation … Continue Reading

Initial Rate for Minnesota Community Solar Gardens Set (Almost)

After a full day of hearing arguments on Xcel’s proposed Community Solar Garden (CSG) program (see more on that here), the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission deliberated in public on the issue yesterday and made some important modifications to Xcel’s proposal. The program would allow Xcel customers to invest in off-site solar facilities and receive bill … Continue Reading

Raising the Bar For Interconnection In the Southwest Power Pool

Like other Independent System Operators have done before it, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) is back at the drawing board in an effort to further refine its generator interconnection procedures and improve on queue reforms initially put in place in 2009.  And also like other ISOs that have continued to tinker with queue reform, SPP … Continue Reading

Post-Conference Report: Solar Power International 2013

Thousands of solar industry participants gathered in Chicago for the Solar Power International expo in Chicago, Illinois on October 21-24 to discuss the state of the solar industry. Participatnts included banks, investors, developers and equipment suppliers, and also several Stoel Rives attorneys. Many themes emerged during the week-long event, and a common thread running through these … Continue Reading

Plans for Community Solar Gardens in Minnesota Emerge

After much anticipation, Xcel Energy submitted its petition for approval (PDF) of the company’s proposed community solar gardens program on September 30th. The program would give utility customers a new way to engage in solar generation without having to invest onsite. A solar garden is a “facility that generates electricity by means of a ground-mounted or … Continue Reading

Governor Dayton Signs Bill Creating Solar Energy Standard

Yesterday, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed the Omnibus Energy Bill into law. After months of negotiations, state legislators came to an agreement that brings Minnesota to the forefront of solar power following the creation of a solar energy standard, community solar garden program, and a unique value of solar tariff. Key provisions of the new … Continue Reading

Update: Minnesota Senate Passes Energy Omnibus Bill

Today the Minnesota Senate passed its omnibus energy bill by a vote of 37-26.  This follows the Minnesota House of Representatives’ passage of its version of the bill on Tuesday.  The bills now move to a conference committee for consolidation.  After the conference committee completes its work, the consolidated bill will then return to each … Continue Reading

Minnesota RES Expansion Moves Forward

 The Minnesota State Legislature’s attempt to expand the amount of electricity that utility companies secure from renewable energy sources cleared a major hurdle recently, as H.F. 956 was included in the House omnibus energy bill.  H.F. 956 proposes to increase Minnesota’s renewable energy standard (“RES”) to 40% by 2030.  The current standard requires that Minnesota’s … Continue Reading

California Court Sides with Solar Project in Williamson Act Challenge

My California colleague Kristen Castaños has written an alert about a recent Fresno County Superior Court decision that denied a challenge to Fresno County’s cancellation of a Williamson Act contract to accommodate a solar generating project. The decision is the first time a court has considered the interplay between the Williamson Act, a California statute … Continue Reading

Renewables Account for All New U.S. Electricity Generating Capacity Added in September

In September 2012, all new electricity generation came from solar and wind projects, according to the Energy Infrastructure Update (PDF) issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects. Five wind projects totaling 300MW and 18 solar projects totaling 133MW came online during the month. The Energy Infrastructure Update also noted that nearly … Continue Reading
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