Energy Law Update

A blog from the attorneys of Verrill

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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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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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“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...
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Maine Supreme Judicial Court Affirms MPUC’s Finding that Smart Meters Pose No Credible Health or Safety Threat

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court  affirmed  the Maine Public Utilities Commission’s decision that Central Maine Power Company’s advanced metering infrastructure (“AMI”) system (aka “smart meters”) pose no credible threat to the health and safety of Central Maine Power Company (“CMP”) customers.  Friedman v. PUC , 2016 ME 19...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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 ...
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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...
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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. At the same time, the 18 states...
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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 judge...
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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...
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USFWS Explores MBTA Incidental Take Permit

The  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced   that it is looking into the creation of an incidental take permitting program under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  Currently the regulations under the MBTA only authorize incidental take for  hunting ;  military readiness ;  scientific collection, falconry and other special purposes ; and to ...
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