Energy Law Update

A blog from the attorneys of Verrill

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Maine Public Utilities Commission Approves Weaver Wind Power Contract

On July 12, 2019, the Maine Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a long-term contract for the purchase of power from Weaver Wind, a 72.6 MW wind power project in Hancock County Maine. The expected commercial operational date for Weaver is no later than December 2020. Chairman Philip Bartlett  remarked...
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Dynamic Pricing Triggers EV Owners’ Load Shift to Early Morning Hours

Supplying electricity during peak demand, the period of highest customer demand for electricity (typically around 4 – 7 p.m.), increases the costs of supply – both for transmission and distribution utilities and customers. Dynamic pricing is one potential remedy to this economic challenge of electricity supply. A recent study...
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The Latest: Governor Reported to Hire Burgess as Maine’s Energy Director

Reports  are circulating that Governor Mills may have selected Dan Burgess as the Director of the Governor’s Energy Office. Burgess is a native of Newport and University of Maine alum. Burgess has been at the forefront of several renewable energy initiatives over the past decade. He has most recently...
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MPUC Approves Term Sheet for Three Rivers Solar Power, LLC’s 100 MW Solar Project

Today, the Maine Public Utilities Commission  approved  a  term sheet  for a long-term contract for Three Rivers Solar Power, LLC’s 100 MW solar project. The Three Rivers Solar project will be located in Hancock County, Maine. It is a ground-mounted solar photovoltaic project, with an expected commercial operations date...
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U.S. Supreme Court Asked to Review Zero Emissions Credit Schemes

In two related cases, Petitioners are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down state generator subsidies that Petitioners argue distort competitive wholesale power markets that are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) under the Federal Power Act (FPA). Both cases concern “zero emission...
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Governor Mills Lifts Wind Power Moratorium

On Thursday, Governor Mills issued an  Executive Order  lifting a moratorium on new wind energy permits. Former Governor Paul LePage issued the moratorium in January 2018 and created a Maine Wind Energy Advisory Commission to study the economic impact of wind turbines on tourism and local communities. Controversy surrounded...
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An Interview with ME PUC Chair, Commissioners, and Former Chair

Sourced from Steve Mitnick,  Public Utilities Fortnightly , “A Day (Two Actually) at the Maine PUC” (January 2019). In this posting, I summarize a recent series of interviews with the current Maine PUC Chair, Commissioners, and Chair Emeritus, Tom Welch. The interviews appeared in the January 2019 edition of...
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Net-metering News from Maine and California

On December 17, 2018, the Maine PUC exempted medium and large non-residential customer classes of CMP and Emera from compliance with the Commission’s net energy billing provisions in Chapter 313, section 3(f), which require measurement of a customer’s production of “nettable energy.” The Commission enacted, effective for facilities in...
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Supreme Court Says “No Frog Habitat, No Critical Habitat”

You might assume that if an endangered species is nowhere to be found on your property, you can rest easy.  “No,” said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which decided in 2012 that if your land  might  be a good place for the Dusky Gopher frog to live, you...
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Maine Street Solutions - Legislative Update

Election night is now (mostly) in the books. As the night wore on, the blue tide turned into a blue wave and ended as a mini blue tsunami crashing on the Maine shore. More results are still coming in, but here’s what we know about the top of the...
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Sixth Annual Natural Gas Conference Focused on the Future

More than 100 professionals from the energy industry gathered at The Woodlands Club in Falmouth, Maine on Thursday, October 18 for the 6th Annual Natural Gas Conference: Focus on the Future, co-hosted by Verrill Dana and Pierce Atwood. The conference kicked off with a keynote address by  Mark Vannoy...
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Natural Gas: Focus on the Future

As the cold weather approaches and the topic of natural gas is top of mind, Verrill Dana and Pierce Atwood will be hosting their  6th Annual Natural Gas Conference: Focus on the Future  on Thursday, October 18 at The Woodlands Club in Falmouth, Maine. The all-day event will be...
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At NECPUC: Takeaways from the Annual Symposium

At the end of May, Verrill Dana attorneys  James Cohen ,  William Harwood ,  Geoffrey Why , Katie Gray, and  Brian Marshall  attended the 71 st  New England Conference of Public Utilities Commissioners (NECPUC) Annual Symposium at the Cliff House in Cape Neddick, Maine. The conference sessions covered a range...
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Congratulations to Cianbro on BOLD!

Cianbro recently  shared  that in April, Cianbro’s Power & Energy team placed its first BOLD® (Breakthrough Overhead Line Design®) structure on a project in Indiana. According to Cianbro "BOLD is a high-capacity, high-efficiency transmission line design with a low-profile, compact configuration." I’m not an engineer, but BOLD looks pretty...
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Maine Wind Energy Update

Ten years ago, Maine’s Task Force on Wind Energy  set ambitious goals for wind development in the State, including a 2015 target of 1,000 MW and a 2020 target of 3,000 MW (including 300 MW offshore) of installed capacity. Today, Maine has  less than 1,000 MW  of installed capacity...
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Maine Department of Environmental Protection Issues Draft Wind Energy Act Rules

After more than a year of pre-rulemaking process including the issuance of two drafts, the Maine DEP has commenced formal rulemaking and  today issued draft rules for wind energy developments in Maine.  The formal draft largely tracks the most recent pre-rulemaking version issued in January 2017. The draft rules include...
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Microgrids: The Next “Big” Thing?

There has been a lot of conversation lately about  “microgrids.”   And, given the significant  power outages experienced in Maine and the Northeast  this past week due to extreme weather events, these conversations are bound to increase. But, what exactly are microgrids, and how can they help?  Not everyone agrees...
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Verrill Dana Co-hosts Fifth Annual Natural Gas Conference

On Thursday, September 28, Verrill Dana and Pierce Atwood co-hosted the  5th Annual Natural Gas Conference: Powering Maine’s Future  at The Woodlands in Falmouth, Maine. The conference kicked off with  Keynote Speaker Governor Paul LePage  who discussed the state of the natural gas industry in Maine and its potential future...
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The Future of the Kennebunk Dams

On Thursday July 20 th , the Board of Selectmen for the  Town of Kennebunk  held a workshop to gather information regarding the Town’s potential role in the future of three dams along the Mousam River in Kennebunk, Maine.  The Board workshop was centered around a presentation prepared by ...
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“Untethered” Clean Energy Subsidies Survive Post-Hughes Preemption Challenges

Last year in  Hughes v. Talen , the Supreme Court struck down a Maryland generator subsidy program, concluding that it had a direct impact on the wholesale energy auctions and was therefore preempted by the Federal Power Act (FPA). Broadly speaking, under the FPA, wholesale energy sales are federally...
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Energy Startups: Opportunities, Challenges, & Considerations

In a presentation during  Maine Startup & Create Week , Verrill Dana partner  Jim Cohen , a utilities and energy lawyer with more than 25 years of experience, moderated a panel focused on the question, “ How can tech disrupt energy? ” With innovation and new technologies being developed...
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How Can Tech Disrupt Energy?

On Wednesday, June 21, as part of  Maine Startup & Create Week , Verrill Dana partner  Jim Cohen ,  a utilities and energy lawyer for more than 25 years, will moderate a panel entitled “ How Can Tech Disrupt Energy ?” Panelists include  Ben Polito , president of Pika...
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2017 Maine Legislature to Consider a Variety of Energy Bills

On Friday, January 6,  Maine Governor Paul LePage  released his  biennial general fund budget  for 2018-19. The Governor's proposed biennial budget and briefing document can be found  here . The main priority in the Budget is reducing  Maine’s top income tax rate  from 10.15 percent to 7.15 percent this...
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Maine PUC Proposes Net Metering Rule Changes

The PUC has  issued a proposed rule  that would change Maine’s net metering compensation for rooftop solar (and other distributed generation). Under Maine’s current rule, customers that generate power are given a credit equal to the full retail rate of electricity. The proposed rule would gradually reduce the portion...
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