Category: Transmission

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Stoel Rives Publishes White Papers on Transmission Development

I am proud to announce the publication of two white papers that focus on the issues of transmission development and broader issues facing renewable energy.  These white papers were written by attorneys at Stoel Rives and were prepared at the request of the Energy Foundation, a partnership of major foundations interested in sustainable energy.  The … Continue Reading

Sen. Kerry’s Energy Tax Bill Would Help Energy Storage Technologies

On August 5, 2010, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) introduced S.3738—the Clean Energy Technology Leadership Act of 2010—which would have some impact on the growth of energy storage technologies in the United States.  Among other things, the bill would provide for an extension and modification of the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit (the “MTC”), a credit … Continue Reading

Puget Wind Integration Charge REJECTED.

With a swift 13-page order today, FERC rejected Puget Sound Energy’s proposed wind integration rate, stating that the rate was not shown to be “just and reasonable” under section 205 of the Federal Power Act.  “Changing system conditions, such as an increasing amount of wind generation described by Puget, present unique challenges that may require … Continue Reading

FERC Comments on Electric Storage Technologies Due August 9

Just a friendly reminder that the deadline to submit comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) on electric storage technologies is just around the corner. In its Request for Comments Regarding Rates, Accounting and Financial Reporting for New Electric Storage Technologies, FERC’s Office of Energy Policy and Innovation seeks comments on the following issues:  The … Continue Reading

Texas Court of Appeals Hands Down Decision in Important Wind Curtailment Case

On July 27, 2010, the Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas, issued its decision in TXU Portfolio Management Company, L.P., v. FPL Energy, LLC, et al., 2010 Tex. App. Lexis 5905 (2010).  The case arose when three FPL wind farms (the "Wind Farms") located in the McCamey area of West Texas experienced ERCOT-imposed … Continue Reading

Colorado Public Utilities Commission Proposes New Rules Governing Transmission Planning

On July 28, 2010, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (the "Commission") issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("NOPR") regarding rules related to electric transmission facilities planning (the "Proposed Rules").  The Proposed Rules are based, in large part, on the input provided by all interested parties in the workshops and written comments in connection with Docket Nos. … Continue Reading

CPUC Staff Issues White Paper on Electric Energy Storage (EES)

Energy Electricty Storage (EES) is likely to become more and more important as intermittent solar and wind energy resources penetrate the grid.   EES may be a very useful and perhaps essential way to manage the variability of intermittent renewable energy resources to allow developers to continue building wind and solar projects at an accelerating pace. On July … Continue Reading

New Tool for Renewable Energy Investors, Entrepreneurs, and Companies

On June 30, 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy ("DOE") launched its Technology Commercialization Portal (the "Portal").  The Portal is an online resource that provides a mechanism for investors, entrepreneurs and companies to identify new technologies coming out of DOE laboratories and other participating research institutions.  Relevant technologies include: Advanced Materials Biomass and Biofuels Building Energy Efficiency Electricity Transmission and … Continue Reading

Midwest ISO Final MVP Cost Allocation Proposal Won’t Charge Generators for New Transmission Needed for Wind Energy

From our colleague Sarah Johnson Phillips: Much to the relief of wind developers in the Midwest, the Midwest ISO has backed off a plan to charge new and existing generators 20% of the cost of new transmission needed to meet renewable energy development goals. Yesterday, the Midwest ISO released its final cost allocation proposal, which … Continue Reading

Kauai’s Electric Utility Faces Civil Suit and Criminal Charges For Bird Fatalities

From our colleagues Greg Corbin and Barbara Craig: On March 24, 2010, four conservation groups filed a complaint against Kauai’s electric utility, Kauai Island Utility Co-op (“KIUC”), alleging that KIUC’s power lines, utility facilities, and street lights “take” threatened Newell’s Townsend’s shearwaters (Puffinus Auricularis Newelli) (“Newell’s shearwaters”) and/or endangered Hawaiian petrels in violation of the … Continue Reading

Release of the “Western Wind and Solar Integration Study”

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory ("NREL") recently announced the release of the "Western Wind and Solar Integration Study"  (the "WWSIS"), which investigated the operational impact of up to 35% energy penetration of wind, photovoltaic, and concentrating solar power on the power system operated by the WestConnect group of utilities in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and … Continue Reading

TransCanada challenges Massachusetts RPS

Stoel Rives litigation partners Beverly Pearman and Jeremy Sacks have prepared the following report on TransCanada’s recent challenge to the Massachusetts RPS: On April 16, 2010, TransCanada Power Marketing, Ltd. (“TransCanda”) filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Massachusetts arguing that Massachusetts is unconstitutionally discriminating against out-of-state renewable energy producers. … Continue Reading

Tradable RECs Now Count Toward California’s RPS

On Thursday March 11, 2010, the California Public Utility Commission (the "CPUC") created a market for tradable renewable energy credits ("TRECs") in the state.  That’s big news.  In its 149-page decision, the CPUC stated that investor-owned utilities ("IOUs"), energy service providers, and community choice aggregators may now use TRECs to comply with California’s ambitious renewable … Continue Reading

Treasury Creates Safe Harbor for Smart Grid Investment Grants

Yesterday, the Energy and Treasury Departments jointly issued guidance regarding the federal income tax treatment of Smart Grid Investment Grant payments received pursuant to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The guidance, which was issued as Revenue Procedure 2010-20, generally provides that a corporation receiving a specified grant will not recognize taxable income upon … Continue Reading

FERC Determines That Battery Storage Devices Qualify as Transmission Facilities. Is the Door Open for Other Energy Storage Devices?

In late January, FERC issued an order in response to a filing by Western Grid Development LLC that asked FERC to declare that Western Grid’s proposed battery storage devices are transmission facilities eligible for certain rate incentives.  Western Grid described its battery technology as 10 to 50 MW sodium sulfur batteries that would be installed at … Continue Reading

Colorado Division of Property Taxation Considers Proposed Tax Treatment of Transmission Lines

The Colorado Division of Property Taxation will hold an important open public meeting Thursday, January 14, 2010, to discuss the "tax treatment of transmission lines".  Details of the proposed options will be posted on the Division’s website under the "state assessed tab."  In the notice provided by the Division, the agenda for the meeting will … Continue Reading

U.S. Wind Industry Breaks Records in 2008, Gets a Boost From Secretary Chu

Today, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that 28 new wind energy projects will receive up to $13.8 million in funding for wind turbine research and testing and transmission analysis, planning, and assessments. Most of the $13.8 million comes from Recovery Act funds. Recognizing the struggles that Americans are facing in the current economic climate, … Continue Reading

SHOW ME THE MONEY: $4.15 Billion Available for Smart Grid Projects

 On June 25, 2009, the Department of Energy (“DOE”) issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (“FOA”) to deploy over $4.15 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“Recovery Act”) to be used to fund smart grid projects. These funds are being deployed through two FOAs. The first FOA provides $3.4 billion to support the Smart … Continue Reading

Strategies for Tapping the West’s Renewable Energy Potential

The Western Governors’ Association ("WGA") gathered in Park City, Utah for its annual meeting, which was held on June 14-16, 2009.   Attendees at the meeting included Governors Bill Ritter (Colo.); C.L. "Butch" Otter (Idaho); Brian Schweitzer (Mont.); Dave Heineman (Neb.); Bill Richardson (N.M.); Benigno Fitial, Northern Mariana Islands; Ted Kulongoski (Ore.); Mike Rounds (S.D.); Dave Freudenthal (Wyo.); and Jon Huntsman, … Continue Reading

Annual Meeting of the Western Governors’ Association: June 14-16, 2009, Park City, Utah

The Western Governors’ Association ("WGA") will hold its annual meeting in Park City, Utah on June 14-16, 2009.  Based on a review of the Agenda posted to the WGA’s website, the focus of the meeting will be on developing regional and global strategies for addressing important issues related to energy resources, climate change and water.  I will be … Continue Reading

Green Power Express Receives Green Light from FERC

On April 10, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a request for various transmission infrastructure investment incentives submitted by Green Power Express LP (GPE), a transmission-only partnership that proposes to build a 765 kV "green superhighway" consisting of three interconnected loops in North and South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa.  GPE’s proposal will also extend radially … Continue Reading

A Superconductor Pipeline for Renewable Energy

Among all the interesting presentations at this month’s AWEA transmission and wind workshop, American Superconductor‘s presentation about developments with superconducting transmission lines was particularly noteworthy.  Superconducting direct current lines offer greater efficiency, as well as siting and aesthetics benefits, but have historically fallen victim to much higher costs when compared to traditional overhead transmission lines.  … Continue Reading

FERC Rejects MISO’s Market Coordination Service Proposal, Approves Anchor Tenant Merchant Transmission

From our colleague and FERC guru, Jason Johns: MISO’s Proposed Market Coordination Service: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today rejected the Midwest ISO’s proposed Market Coordination Service that would have given certain transmission owners access to the ISO energy and operating reserve markets without requiring those owners to hand over control of facilities or share … Continue Reading

Upper Midwest Transmission Development Initiative Created

On September 18, 2008, the Midwest states of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota announced creation of a regional transmission planning effort that will "promote regional electric transmission investment and cost sharing" among the states.  Several entities, including MISO (which is currently conducting transmission planning studies in the region) and ITC, have issued press releases in favor … Continue Reading
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