Energy Law Update

A blog from the attorneys of Verrill

Search Blog

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

Verrill Dana Hosts E2Tech Networking Event

On Tuesday, July 26, more than a hundred professionals gathered outside in Verrill Dana's courtyard in Portland, Maine for the E2Tech Summer Networking Reception . Attendees included numerous area businesses, government officials, professionals, and non-profit leaders from across the state within the energy and environmental sectors. Verrill Dana partner...
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...
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 PUC Opens Proceeding to Distribute RGGI Funds to Large Energy Consumers

The Maine Public Utilities Commission recently opened a new docket, 2016-00081, to process refunds to energy intensive manufacturers in Maine out of the fund created by the carbon cap and trade program under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Maine is one of nine New England/Mid-Atlantic states that participate...
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

“The Rate Is What It Is”: Supreme Court Upholds FERC’s Demand Response Rule

At oral argument in FERC v. Electric Power Supply Association , the Government argued that the retail rate or price of electricity "is what it is"—exactly the amount charged to the customer, without considering any foregone benefits. On Monday, the Supreme Court agreed with that characterization and upheld FERC's...
Go

MPUC Approves Northern Utilities’ Targeted Area Build-Out Program

Northern Utilities (d/b/a Unitil) recently received Maine Public Utilities Commission approval for a pilot Targeted Area Build-Out (TAB) program in Saco, Maine. The purpose of Unitil's TAB program is to remove the barrier of large contribution in aid of construction (CIAC) payments that new gas customers face when converting...
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

Washington Post on Electric Vehicles: Coal Generates Electricity

Last week the Washington Post exposed electric cars' dirty secret: they use electricity! The piece makes the astute point an electric vehicle (EV) is only as clean as the electricity that is used to power it. It is true that in many parts of the world that still heavily...
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'...
Go

Count ME In

Count Maine "in" as one of the 18 states filing a motion to intervene to defend the federal Environmental Protection Agency's ("EPA" or "Agency") Clean Power Plan ("Rule"). A coalition including 24 states wasted little time filing suit against the much-anticipated final Rule after it was posted in the...
Go

Maine’s High Court Upholds Bangor Gas Rate Plan Ruling

In an opinion issued this August, the Law Court upheld a Maine Public Utilities Commission order approving a new rate plan for Bangor Gas Company, LLC. A principal issue before the Law Court was whether Bangor Gas should be entitled to recover in its natural gas delivery rates the...
Go

EPA and States Locked in Funhouse Litigation over WOTUS Rule

Eighteen states that are suing the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to block the regulation attempting to identify jurisdictional waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act have filed a motion for a preliminary injunction with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit...
Go

EPA WOTUS Rule Takes Effect in Most States - Or Does It?

The rule enacted by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers intended to clarify the scope of jurisdictional waters of the United States (often referred to as the WOTUS Rule or Clean Water Rule) was set to take effect on August 28. One day prior to that, a...
Go