Energy Law Update

A blog from the attorneys of Verrill

Search Blog

Category: Renewable Energy

Recent Maine Legislation Bolster Solar, Distributed Generation

This past legislative session in Maine saw a flurry of renewable energy legislation, including two laws reforming and expanding the net energy billing (NEB) program. This blog briefly charts these two developments in the NEB program. P.L. 2019, ch. 16 (LD 91) ends annual, step-down of kWh credits for...
Go

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...
Go

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...
Go

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...
Go

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...
Go

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...
Go

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...
Go

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...
Go

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 ...
Go

“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...
Go

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...
Go

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...
Go

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...
Go

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...
Go

Natural Gas: Where Do We Go From Here?

With cold weather approaching, natural gas production expected to rise and expansion projects underway, Verrill Dana and Pierce Atwood will host their fourth annual,  Natural Gas: Where do we go from here?  on Thursday, October 6 at The Woodlands in Falmouth, Maine. The all-day event, co-chaired by Verrill Dana...
Go

Not Just for Rooftops: A Look at Community Solar in Maine

Much of the discussion around solar policy focuses on rooftop solar. While rooftop solar is an option for certain homeowners with suitable rooftops and some extra cash in the bank (or the ability to obtain financing), rooftop solar is not available to a large segment of the population. Community...
Go

D.C. Circuit Remands BOEM Cape Wind Lease under NEPA and ESA, Punts on MBTA Challenge

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has dealt another setback to the Cape Wind offshore wind power project by  holding yesterday in  Public Employees for Environmental Responsibilities v. Hopper  that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) violated the...
Go

4.4 MW Solar Facility to Provide Power for Madison Electric Works Customers

IGS Solar recently  announced  that Madison Electric Works will buy power from IGS's 4.4 MW solar array under a long-term contract. IGS will finance, own and operate the 4.4 megawatt generation facility, which will include more than more than 13,000 solar panels. MEW serves customers in Madison, Starks, Anson...
Go

Maine PUC Opens New Proceeding to Explore Changes to Net Metering Rules

On Tuesday, the PUC opened a new docket (2016-00120) requesting comments from interested stakeholders about the future of net metering (also known as “net energy billing”). In January, CMP notified the Commission that in 2015 net metering resources had exceeded 1% of CMP’s peak demand, triggering PUC review under...
Go

Maine Commission Reviews Non-Transmission Alternative Pilot Project; Opens New Docket to Appoint NTA Coordinator

Eight years ago, Central Maine Power (CMP), Maine’s largest T&D utility, proposed the  Maine Power Reliability Program  (MPRP)—a comprehensive plan to upgrade transmission resources ensure reliable service to its customers throughout its service territory. As part of an agreement reached in that docket, a Non-Transmission Alternative (NTA) pilot project...
Go

Maine Solar Bill Proposes to Expand Capacity Without Net Metering

On March 10, the Maine Legislature’s Energy, Utilities & Technology Committee reported out  a bill  that is the culmination of the solar stakeholder process at the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The bill sets a target of developing 248 MW of new solar capacity over a five-year period beginning in...
Go

Beyond Net Metering: Solar Stakeholders Seek Common Ground

Since September, solar stakeholders have been participating in regular work sessions at the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to develop an alternative to Maine’s current net metering rules. Net metering or “net energy billing” allows utility customers who also generate some of their own power (with solar panels, for...
Go

Large-Scale Solar Having Its Moment in the Sun

Last week the  Portland Press Herald  reported that the Maine Public Utilities Commission will direct Maine’s transmission and distribution utilities to enter into a long-term contract with Dirigo Solar for the construction of up to 75 MW of new solar installations across the state. The Commission was especially pleased...
Go

SolarCity’s Antitrust Case Survives Motion to Dismiss

When the Salt River Project utility in Arizona decided to impose new charges for its customers with rooftop solar installations  in February , it opened another front in the solar war being waged across the country. Normally, these fights play out before state administrative agencies tasked with setting utilities&rsquo...
Go

30-Year BGEPA Take Permit Invalidated by Federal District Court

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Tuesday struck down a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulation allowing issuance of 30-year take permits under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.  The court's holding is a blow, albeit likely temporary, to wind power developers seeking...
Go