Blog Posts: Environmental and Energy Law Update

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The Environmental and Energy Law Update blog provides an analysis and discussion of the most critical and timely legal issues and announcements environmental, natural resource, and energy sectors.

Maine PUC Releases Report on Evolution of Electrical Grid to Meet Climate Goals

On December 1, 2021, the Maine PUC released a Report on the first phase of its investigation into necessary design and operational changes to the electrical distribution grid to facilitate the State’s clean energy goals. In February of 2020, the PUC initiated this investigation in response to recent legislation...
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Maine Law Court Holds Citizen's Initiative Cannot Block CMP's NECEC Transmission Line

Yesterday, the Maine Law Court deemed unconstitutional a ballot initiative to overturn the Maine PUC’s approval of the transmission line known as the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC). The Court’s holding in Avangrid Networks, Inc. v. Sec’y of State , has potentially wide-ranging implications for Maine’s administrative and...
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Maine’s COVID-19 Response Impacts Utility Services and Other Business Activities

Like many states, Maine is quickly imposing a wide range of measures designed to protect the public in response to the spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19. Almost daily, Maine Governor Janet Mills and other state agencies have announced new measures. On Sunday, March 15, Governor Mills issued a Proclamation...
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Recent Maine Legislation Triggers Amendment to PUC Consumer Protection Rules

Last year, the Maine Legislature enacted three bills requiring amendments to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Rules in Ch. 815: Consumer Protection Standards for Electric and Gas Transmission and Distribution (T&D) Utilities . Last month, on February 5, 2020, the PUC issued an Order amending Ch. 815, effective February...
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Maine PUC Issues Report Analyzing the Costs and Benefits of “Public Power” in Maine

Last week, the Maine PUC submitted to the Maine Legislature its Report , authored by London Economics International (LEI), on the costs and benefits of requiring the State of Maine to take over Central Maine Power and Emera Maine and hire a private contractor to operate Maine’s electric grid...
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First Circuit Acts on Appeal by South Portland Pipeline Company

On January 10, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit acted on the Portland Pipe Line Corporation’s (PPLC) appeal of the district court order upholding a South Portland zoning ordinance that prohibits the bulk loading of crude oil onto marine vessels. Portland Pipe Line Corp. v...
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Jim Cohen Addresses Maine Chamber Symposium About Risks of Public Power

On January 6, 2020, longtime Verrill partner and energy lawyer Jim Cohen appeared at a legislative symposium hosted by the Maine Chamber of Commerce and spoke on the topic, “ Creation of a State-Run Power Authority: Promises vs. Realities .” Cohen’s presentation outlined the substantial risks associated with Maine...
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Maine Adopts Amended Net Energy Billing Rules, New Commercial NEB Tariff Rate

Recent legislation amending the net energy billing (NEB) rules to include a tariff rate program specifically for commercial customers and directing the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to procure distributed generation, has prompted a flurry of PUC rule changes in the past months. See P.L. 2019, ch. 478 (LD...
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Beneficial Electrification and Natural Gas Bans in New Buildings, Affordable Sustainability

Electric Cars
Transmission and distribution (T&D) utility customers have often been understood to care most about two things: reliability and cost—usually, but not necessarily in that order. Climate change and the public’s interest in mitigating it, have begun to change that conventional thinking. The ongoing beat of public climate change advocacy...
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The 7th Annual Maine Natural Gas Conference

Flame Graphic
This past Thursday, October 3, 2019, representatives of regional natural gas distribution companies, energy regulators and attorneys, and renewable energy advocates gathered to discuss the current and future roles of natural gas in our energy industry. Topics ranged from gas-fired generation of electricity, potential future uses of natural gas...
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Recent Maine Legislation Bolsters Solar, Distributed Generation

Solar Panels
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...
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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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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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Firm Highlights

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Verrill Alumni Bill Harwood Nominated as Public Advocate for the State of Maine

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Environmental Protection Agency’s PFAS Roadmap

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced its PFAS Strategic Roadmap. PFAS are a class of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances that have been used in a wide variety of industries since the...

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Geoff Why to Moderate "The Future is Now: 5G Wireless Networks"

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Incidental Take of Migratory Birds Prohibited Once Again as New MBTA Rule Becomes Effective

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) final rule that presumptively reinstates liability for incidental take under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (“MBTA”) becomes effective on December 3. The new rule revokes a Trump-era...

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Maine Rural Water Association Annual Conference with Verrill Attorney Mathew J. Todaro

Verrill Attorney Mathew J. Todaro, along with two others, will be presenting at the Maine Rural Water Association’s 41 st Annual Conference and Trade Show. Their presentation, “PFAS and Practicality Regulatory Updates with a...

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New Maine Law Regarding Decommissioning for Solar Projects

Solar Panels
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Long-time Verrill Attorney William Harwood to Join Maine Governor’s Energy Office

William S. Harwood
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Energy: Legislative Campaign to Oppose State Takeover of Electric Utilities

During the 2019 session of the Maine Legislature, Verrill took a leading role on behalf of our client Emera Maine in opposing significant legislation authorizing the State of Maine to take over and operate...

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Longtime Verrill Attorney Begins New Role as Senior Advisor at Maine Governor’s Energy Office

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Maine PUC Releases Report on Evolution of Electrical Grid to Meet Climate Goals

On December 1, 2021, the Maine PUC released a Report on the first phase of its investigation into necessary design and operational changes to the electrical distribution grid to facilitate the State’s clean energy...

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