In its first move since hitting “pause” on the California Public Utilities Commission’s (Commission) consideration of a controversial December 2021 proposed decision (Proposed Decision or PD) that would have overhauled the existing net energy metering (NEM) tariff for California’s solar customers, the presiding administrative law judge (ALJ) issued a ruling on May 9 to reopen the record and invite party comments on a limited scope of issues.

Background

The Commission adopted California’s existing solar tariff, known as NEM 2.0, on January 28, 2016 in Decision (D.) 16-01-044.  Customers opting into this tariff pay a one-time interconnection fee (less than $150 for systems under 1 MW and $800 for systems over 1 MW).  Customers taking service on the NEM tariff are automatically opted into a time-of-use rate plan and are subject to select non-bypassable charges (NBCs) that are used to fund general customer programs such as contributions to the wildfire fund, nuclear decommissioning, and the public purpose program, among others. NEM customers receive a bill credit for any excess generation produced by their system and exported to the electric grid, which credits may be used to offset customer energy costs. Under NEM 2.0, any excess generation credits are applied to the customer’s bill at the same retail rate (including generation, distribution and transmission charges) the customer would have paid for the energy consumption.
Continue Reading Commission Ruling Reopens the NEM 3.0 Record to Invite Comment on and Consider Limited Issues

Tax equity investments, and potentially other passive investments, in renewable energy just became that much easier to make.  Today, in response to a petition for declaratory order filed in January 2017 by a coalition of investors and project sponsors, FERC ruled that tax equity investments in public utilities does not trigger section 203 of the

By a notice issued yesterday, September 28, Rick Perry, the Secretary of Energy, utilized section 403 of the DOE Act to require FERC to cause organized energy market operators (ISOs/RTOs) to compensate “fuel secure generation”, i.e., coal power, for grid “resiliency”–something that apparently puts Americans at risk despite statements by NERC to the contrary or

Stoel Rives’ Energy Team has been monitoring and providing summaries of key energy-related bills introduced by California legislators since the beginning of the 2017-2018 Legislative Session. Legislators have been busy moving bills through the legislative process since reconvening from the Summer Recess. For any bill not identified as a two-year bill, the deadline for each house to pass the bill and present it to the Governor for signature or veto was September 15, 2017. Below is a summary and status of bills we have been following.

An enrolled bill is one that has been through the proof-reading process and is sent to the Governor to take action. A two-year bill is a bill taken out of consideration during the first year of a regular legislative session, with the intent of taking it up again during the second half of the session.

  • Of particular note here is SB 100, California’s pitch for 100 percent renewable energy, failed to move to the next stage of the process and is kicked to next year.
  • Our next blog post, after October 15, will provide an update on whether those bills sent to Governor Brown were signed or vetoed.


Continue Reading Updates to Energy Related Bills in the 2017-2018 California Legislative Session

Massachusetts recently became the latest state to adopt an energy storage target, following California’s lead, and recent storage legislation in Nevada and New York.

The Massachusetts storage mandate originated in the legislature last year, when the state legislature passed H.4568, which was signed by the Governor on August 8, 2016. The legislation required the state’s

On June 28, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected challenges to Connecticut’s renewable energy procurement process and renewable energy credit program (Allco Fin. Ltd. v. Robert J. Klee (Docket Nos. 16-2946, 16-2949)). In doing so, the Second Circuit preserved the flexibility of states to enact programs to support renewable energy and became the first federal court to apply the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hughes v. Talen Energy (136 S. Ct. 1288 (2016)). While the Second Circuit’s decision raises some questions about the boundaries of state renewable energy programs, its narrow reading of Hughes v. Talen Energy supports a wide range of state renewable energy programs.

Allco (a renewable energy developer that participated, but was not selected, in Connecticut’s renewable energy procurement process) petitioned the court to overturn Connecticut’s renewable program on preemption grounds. Under Connecticut’s renewable energy procurement process, Connecticut solicits proposals for renewable energy through a competitive solicitation, and then Connecticut’s utilities are directed to enter into power purchase agreements for energy, capacity and environmental attributes with the solicitation winners. In its complaint, Allco argued that, since the Federal Power Act (FPA) grants the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) exclusive jurisdiction over wholesale sales of electricity, the FPA preempts any action taken by states dealing with wholesale electricity sales (outside of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) and the regulations that apply to qualifying facilities (QFs)). According to Allco, Connecticut’s renewable energy procurement process compelled a wholesale power transaction, similar to what the Supreme Court struck down in Hughes v. Talen Energy (in which Maryland guaranteed selected generators a fixed capacity price for participating in a FERC-approved capacity auction).
Continue Reading Court Rejects Preemption and Dormant Commerce Clause Arguments and Upholds Connecticut’s Renewable Program

Stoel Rives’ Energy Team has been monitoring and providing summaries of key energy-related bills introduced by California legislators since the beginning of the 2017-2018 Legislative Session. June 2, 2017 was the deadline by which the legislature was required to pass bills out of the house of origin.  Failing to meet that deadline does not automatically prevent a bill from proceeding through the legislative process; however, such failure will prevent the bill from being considered by the full legislature or the Governor during the first half of the Legislative Session.  Below is a summary of bills we have been following that have most recently changed.  We will continue to monitor and update these energy-related bills as the legislative session proceeds.

Assembly Bills

AB 79 (Levine, D): Electrical generation: hourly greenhouse gas emissions: electricity from unspecified sources.
STATUS: Ordered to Senate June 1, 2017.

  • Initially introduced as a bill to decrease the amount energy consumed from coal-fired generation resources, AB 79 was revamped to require, by January 1, 2019, the State Air Resources Board (CARB), in consultation with the Independent System Operator (ISO), to regularly update its methodology for the calculation of emissions of greenhouse gases associated with electricity from unspecified sources. The bill would require the CPUC and the CEC to incorporate the methodology into programs addressing the disclosure of the emissions of greenhouse gases and the procurement of electricity by entities under the respective jurisdiction of each.


Continue Reading Updates to Energy Related Bills in the 2017-2018 California Legislative Session

On April 6th, the energy storage market received a boost in California when state regulators authorized $196 million in new rebates for customers who install onsite (behind the meter) energy storage systems.

Background

The change occurs under the California Self Generation Incentive Program (“SGIP”). SGIP provides a financial rebate to energy customers who install new