Allison Smith

Allison Smith

Allison Smith focuses her practice in environmental and energy law. Her experience includes CEQA and land use litigation, conducting environmental due diligence, and permitting solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and gas-fired energy facilities. Allison also counsels companies on federal and state air quality and greenhouse gas regulations.

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Failed Solar Cell Could Be Hazardous to More Than the Owner’s Bottom Line

See my colleague Wayne Rosenbaum‘s recent post on the question of how failed solar panels could be treated under federal and California waste laws: Recently the New York Times published an article highlighting the high rate of solar panel failures well before their expected life times.  While the article focused on the question of product liability, … Continue Reading

CPUC Approves Standard Contract for New California Feed-In Tariff

The California Public Utilities Commission has adopted Decision 13-05-034, approving PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E’s joint standard contract for California’s expanded feed-in tariff (FiT) program. D.13-05-034 also revises several provisions of the FiT tariff and addresses two petitions to modify D.12-05-035, the Commission’s previous decision implementing the expanded FiT. The most recent legislation affecting the FiT, SB 1122 … Continue Reading

California Public Utilities Commission Sets Fourth and Fifth Solicitations for the Renewable Auction Mechanism Program

On May 9, 2013, the California Public Utilities Commission adopted Resolution E-4582, scheduling the fourth Renewable Auction Mechanism (RAM) auction to close on June 28, 2013 and setting a fifth RAM auction for no later than June 27, 2014. The RAM program allows renewable energy developers to bid their 3 MW to 20 MW projects to … Continue Reading

Draft California PUC Resolution Would Set Fourth RAM Auction for June 28, 2013, Authorize Fifth RAM Auction in 2014

The California Public Utilities Commission has issued a Draft Resolution to schedule the fourth Renewable Auction Mechanism (RAM) solicitation and authorize a fifth RAM auction to take place in 2014. Draft Resolution E-4582, issued April 9, 2013, would close bidding for the fourth RAM auction on June 28, 2013. The fifth RAM auction authorized by the Resolution … Continue Reading

Results of California Cap and Trade Quarterly Auction Released

On February 19, 2013, the California Air Resources Board held its second auction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission allowances for its Cap and Trade Program. This was the first quarterly auction for 2013; the first auction was held November 14, 2012. All ‘covered entities’ – GHG emitters regulated under Cap and Trade – were eligible to participate … Continue Reading

California Public Utilities Commission Opens New Rulemaking on Biomethane

The California Public Utilities Commission has commenced a new rulemaking to implement Assembly Bill (AB) 1900, on the use of common carrier gas pipelines for biomethane. In the rulemaking, the CPUC will develop standards and requirements for biomethane injected into pipelines, as well as pipeline access rules to ensure non-discriminatory open access to the system. Under current … Continue Reading

California Issues 2012 Bioenergy Action Plan

The California Bioenergy Interagency Working Group has released its 2012 Bioenergy Action Plan, with the goal of facilitating the development of bioenergy in California on a variety of levels, including research and development support, streamlining and consolidating permitting, facilitating access to transmission, pipelines, and other distribution networks, and policies and laws to monetize the benefits … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Reject’s EPA’s Transport (Cross-State Air Pollution) Rule

Yesterday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA that rejects the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approach to regulating upwind pollution from coal- and natural gas-fired power plants, among other sources. The so-called Transport Rule, also known as the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, had sought to … Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Interior Moves to Streamline Solar Development in the West

As my colleagues Kristen Castaños and Melissa Foster posted on the Stoel Rives California Environmental Law Blog, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced today that it will publish the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (“Solar PEIS”) for solar energy development in six southwestern states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.  The Solar PEIS is a … Continue Reading

CPUC Implements Changes to the California Renewable Auction Mechanism

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has adopted several changes to the state’s Renewable Auction Mechanism program (RAM), created in 2010. The RAM program operates as a reverse auction, offering a standard contract with the state’s three largest investor-owned utilities for energy from renewable distributed generation facilities of up to 20 megawatts (MW). The utilities will procure … Continue Reading

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines

On March 23, 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) released its highly anticipated final Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines. The Guidelines present a tiered approach for the consideration and analysis of potential impacts to wildlife and habitat from onshore wind energy development. The five-tier process and other guidance found in the Guidelines aim to … Continue Reading

Update: California Energy Commission Postpones Action on Proposed Decision Allowing PV Projects to Opt-In to CEC Permitting Process

In a previous blog, we reported on a proposed decision pending consideration by the California Energy Commission (CEC), which would allow solar photovoltaic project developers to opt-in to the CEC’s permitting process.  The CEC has announced that its decision on this matter has been postponed to an as-yet undetermined date.… Continue Reading

Proposed Decision Would Allow Solar PV Projects to Opt-In to California Energy Commission Permitting Process

Next Wednesday, the California Energy Commission will consider adoption of a Proposed Decision that would “expand” the Commission’s jurisdiction over the permitting of energy facilities in California.  The Proposed Decision arises from a motion by Solar Trust of America asking the Energy Commission to find that photovoltaic electrical generating facilities may voluntarily submit to the … Continue Reading

California Renewable Energy Projects Receive A Boost From SB 267 and SB 618

  Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 267 and Senate Bill 618 this past weekend which resulted in California having two more laws in place to help facilitate development of renewable energy projects in California.  For further information please see Kristen Castaños’ recent post entitled, “Governor Brown Signs Two More Bills to Streamline Renewable Energy Development … Continue Reading

The Bureau of Land Management, Tribal Cultural Resources and Renewable Energy Development

My collegue Michael O’Connell issued the legal alert below on a recent significant Interior Board of Land Appeals decision concerning the intersection of tribal cultural resources and a BLM geothermal lease application: The Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA or Board) decision, Earth Power Resources, 181 IBLA 94 (May 12, 2011), deals with BLM action … Continue Reading

Compliance with California Cap-And-Trade May Be Deferred until 2013

Yesterday, the Executive Director of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), Mary Nichols, announced that CARB is proposing to delay full implementation of California’s cap-and-trade program for a year. In testimony before the California Senate Select Committee on the Environment, the Economy, and Climate Change, Nichols stated that CARB is proposing to “initiate” the cap-and-trade … Continue Reading

Governor Brown Signs Bill Increasing California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 33%

A Legal News Alert from Seth Hilton and the Stoel Rives Renewable Energy Law Group: California’s Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill ("SB") X1-2 on Tuesday requiring California’s electric utilities to procure 33% of their energy from renewable resources by 2020.  Upon signing the bill, Governor Brown stated the "bill will bring many important benefits to California, including … Continue Reading

Will California’s Best Management Practices and Guidance Manual help streamline renewable energy permitting in the California deserts?

The California Renewable Energy Action Team’s (REAT) final Best Management Practices and Guidance Manual for Desert Renewable Energy Projects is now available. The Manual was adopted by the California Energy Commission on December 15, 2010. The final version posted online last week includes the minor additions from the December 15 meeting. The REAT is made up of … Continue Reading

California Adopts Cap-and-Trade

After a marathon 10-hour public hearing last Thursday, the California Air Resources Board voted 9-to-1 to adopt the state’s landmark Cap-and-Trade Program. My colleague, Lee Smith, and I spent the day at the packed California EPA auditorium, monitoring the hearing.  Over 150 people strode up to the podium to give testimony during the public comment period, spanning … Continue Reading

California’s Proposed GHG Cap-and-Trade Program Out for Public Comment

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has issued its proposed greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program, pursuant to the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32). The proposed regulation builds on the conceptual framework for ARB’s cap-and-trade program, released in November 2009. The 45-day public comment period on the regulation opened yesterday and closes on December 15, 2010. Whether by … Continue Reading

GEA’s Geothermal Energy Finance Forum hits New York

On January 14, the Geothermal Energy Association will host a one-day Geothermal Energy Finance Forum in New York.  Almost 30 speakers are confirmed for the Forum, including heavy hitters from investment groups and banks, geothermal energy developers, and the DOE and Treasury.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will deliver the keynote address.  My colleague, John McKinsey, will … Continue Reading
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