Global Power Law & Policy

Legal and Policy Developments Affecting the Global Power Industry.

 

1
The Energizer – Volume 73
2
U.S. Army Corps Proposes Two New Nationwide Permits for Utility Lines and Revises Additional Nationwide Permits Impacting Utility-Scale Wind and Solar Infrastructure
3
U.S. ENERGY STORAGE ASSOCIATION RECOGNIZES K&L GATES WITH BRAD ROBERTS OUTSTANDING INDUSTRY ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
4
The Energizer – Volume 72
5
To Kill a Mockingbird: Federal Court invalidates Department of Interior’s MBTA Opinion Letter
6
The Energizer – Volume 71
7
Trump nominates Clements, Christie to FERC
8
FERC Updates PURPA Rules and Dismisses Petition to Declare Jurisdiction over Net-Metering Sales
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The Energizer – Volume 70
10
The Energizer – Volume 69

The Energizer – Volume 73

By: Buck B. EndemannDaniel S. CohenMolly K. BarkerOlivia B. MoraAbraham F. JohnsNatalie J. ReidMatthew P. Clark

A biweekly update on clean technology applications, distributed energy resources, and other innovative technologies in the renewable energy and clean transport sector.

There is a lot of buzz around cleantech, distributed energy resources (“DERs”), microgrids, and other technological innovations in the renewable energy and clean transport industries. As these innovations develop, energy markets will undergo substantial changes to which consumer and industry participants alike will need to adapt and leverage. Every other week, K&L Gates’ The Energizer will highlight emerging issues or stories relating to the use of DERs, energy storage, emerging technologies, hydrogen, and other innovations driving the energy and clean transportation industries forward.

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • Illinois Rolls Out Energy Strategy for 100% Renewable Electricity
  • Rhombus Energy Solutions Receives Additional Certifications for EV Charging Technologies
  • Researchers Develop Stand-Alone Device that Converts Water, Sunlight, and Carbon Dioxide into Fuel
  • Power Ledger Unveils Southeast Asia’s First Peer-to-Peer REC Marketplace

U.S. Army Corps Proposes Two New Nationwide Permits for Utility Lines and Revises Additional Nationwide Permits Impacting Utility-Scale Wind and Solar Infrastructure

Authors: Ankur K. Tohan, Robert M. Smith, and Natalie J. Reid

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has proposed revisions to its Nationwide Permits (NWPs) that will significantly change to how utility lines will be treated under the NWP program. Currently, only one NWP exists to address the construction of all utility lines: NWP 12. The USACE proposes to add two new utility line permits: NWP C: Electric Utility Line and Telecommunications Activities and NWP D: Utility Line Activities for Water and Other Substances. The USACE further intends to limit existing NWP 12 to only oil and natural gas activities. Finally, the USACE has proposed to further reduce the regulatory obstacles faced by wind and solar project developers by modifying additional NWPs.

The key changes relevant to wind and solar developments are the creation of NWP C, the elimination of many Pre-Construction Notification requirements, and the removal of the 300 linear foot limit for losses to stream bed in NWP 51. To read the full alert CLICK HERE.

U.S. ENERGY STORAGE ASSOCIATION RECOGNIZES K&L GATES WITH BRAD ROBERTS OUTSTANDING INDUSTRY ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

The U.S. Energy Storage Association (ESA), the national trade association for the American energy storage industry, will recognize K&L Gates with the Brad Roberts Outstanding Industry Achievement Award at the 2020 ESA Annual Awards taking place during the association’s virtual conference next week.

The award recognizes K&L Gates for “its tremendous contributions that have advanced the industry forward including nurturing early storage developers, hosting an annual conference, and developing the widely circulated Energy Storage Handbook.” The ESA determines this award by surveying its members and past award recipients each year to identify a member organization that has made significant contributions in the storage industry.  

Read more about the award in the ESA press release

The Energizer – Volume 72

A biweekly update on clean technology applications, distributed energy resources, and other innovative technologies in the renewable energy and clean transport sector.

There is a lot of buzz around cleantech, distributed energy resources (“DERs”), microgrids, and other technological innovations in the renewable energy and clean transport industries. As these innovations develop, energy markets will undergo substantial changes to which consumer and industry participants alike will need to adapt and leverage. Every other week, K&L Gates’ The Energizer will highlight emerging issues or stories relating to the use of DERs, energy storage, emerging technologies, hydrogen, and other innovations driving the energy and clean transportation industries forward.

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • Canadian Provinces Expand Planned Development of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors
  • NREL Announces DER-Optimizing Software
  • Researchers Develop Catalyst to Efficiently Convert Carbon Dioxide to Ethanol
  • The World’s Largest Floating PV Park Outside of China Comes Online

To Kill a Mockingbird: Federal Court invalidates Department of Interior’s MBTA Opinion Letter

Authors: Ankur K. Tohan and Gabrielle E. Thompson

In her opening statement to an August 11 opinion, United States District Court Judge Valerie Caproni writes:

“It is not only a sin to kill a mockingbird, it is also a crime.”

Judge Caproni’s literary reference is the launching point for addressing the matter at hand: the validity of the Department of Interior’s December 22, 2017, Memorandum M-37050, which concludes that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) prohibition on the “taking” or “killing” of migratory birds applies only to deliberate acts intended to take a migratory bird. The M-Opinion announced the Trump administration’s view of the take prohibition in the MBTA, and states that the Trump administration will not seek criminal penalties against individuals and industries —such as oil and gas, as well as renewable energy— for incidentally taking migratory birds. The M-Opinion significantly limited the scope of the take prohibition in the MBTA, reducing the potential liability for development of infrastructure and renewable energy projects.

Judge Caproni writes that Interior’s opinion violates the letter of the law for the past century and contradicts Interior’s long held position that even incidental take or kill of a migratory bird violated the MBTA “irrespective of whether the activities targeted birds or were intended to take or kill birds.” Now, Judge Caproni stated,

“[I]f the Department of the Interior has its way, many mockingbirds and other migratory birds that delight people and support ecosystems throughout the country will be killed without legal consequence.”

Judge Caproni devotes the remainder of her ruling explaining why the M-Opinion violates the Administrative Procedures Act as contrary to law. Judge Caproni rejected Interior’s narrow reading of the statute as lacking support in the plain language of the MBTA. As Judge Caproni explained,

“There is nothing in the text of the MBTA that suggests that in order to fall within its prohibition, activity must be directed specifically at birds. Nor does the statute prohibit only intentionally killing migratory birds. And it certainly does not say that only ‘some’ kills are prohibited.”

While Judge Caproni acknowledged that in drafting the MBTA Congress may have been “principally concerned” about over-hunting, Congress chose not to narrowly draw the prohibition in the statute to intentional take or kill of birds.

The August 11 order vacates the M-Opinion.

The Energizer – Volume 71

By: Buck B. EndemannDaniel S. CohenMolly K. BarkerOlivia B. MoraAbraham F. JohnsNatalie J. ReidMatthew P. Clark

A biweekly update on clean technology applications, distributed energy resources, and other innovative technologies in the renewable energy and clean transport sector.

There is a lot of buzz around cleantech, distributed energy resources (“DERs”), microgrids, and other technological innovations in the renewable energy and clean transport industries. As these innovations develop, energy markets will undergo substantial changes to which consumer and industry participants alike will need to adapt and leverage. Every other week, K&L Gates’ The Energizer will highlight emerging issues or stories relating to the use of DERs, energy storage, emerging technologies, hydrogen, and other innovations driving the energy and clean transportation industries forward.

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • Florida Utility Plans First Hydrogen Facility
  • Electron Facilitates Energy Trades in Orkney Islands of Scotland
  • Researchers at Tulane University Develop Hybrid Solar Energy Converter
  • CPUC to Credit Distributed Energy Resources for Avoided Transmission Costs

Trump nominates Clements, Christie to FERC

By Sandra E. Safro, David L. Wochner, Kimberly B. Frank, and Patrick T. Metz

Late yesterday, the White House announced that President Trump intended to nominate Mark C. Christie and Allison Clements to be FERC Commissioners. Christie would assume the seat currently occupied by Commissioner Bernard McNamee, whose term expired June 30, 2020, but who is continuing as commissioner until the earlier of when his replacement is confirmed and sworn in or the end of the current congressional session, as permitted by law. Clements would fill a seat left vacant in August 2019 with the departure of former Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur. If the Senate confirms Christie and Clements, FERC would have five Commissioners for the first time since LaFleur left the Commission in August 2019.

Read More

FERC Updates PURPA Rules and Dismisses Petition to Declare Jurisdiction over Net-Metering Sales

By Kimberly Frank, Buck Endemann, Abraham Johns

On July 16, 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or “the Commission”) issued two noteworthy electric power orders: the first is a final rule (“Order No. 872”) that updates regulations implementing the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (“PURPA”);[1] the second dismisses the New England Ratepayer Association’s (“NERA”) petition for a declaratory order on FERC’s jurisdiction over net energy metering sales.[2] 

Final Rule on PURPA Update

In September 2019, FERC issued of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) to significantly change how it implements PURPA, a law that applies to small power producers.[3]  In Order No. 872, FERC largely adopted the NOPR’s proposed revisions to the Commission’s regulations implementing PURPA sections 201 and 210.  Notable changes to the PURPA regulations include: (1)  providing additional flexibility to set “avoided cost” rates for qualifying facilities (“QFs”) sales; (2) modifying the “one-mile rule” to allow for consideration that affiliated QFs more than one mile but less than ten miles apart may be at the same site ; (3) revising procedures to  challenge  initial QF certification and re-certification; (4) revising the threshold from 20 megawatts (“MW”) to 5 MW at which a utility may petition to terminate its obligation to purchase from certain QFs; and (5) requiring states to develop criteria that must be met for a QF to be entitled to a contract or legally enforceable obligation (“LEO”).   

Changes included in Order No. 872 will be effective 120 days from publication in the Federal Register.  When effective, Order No. 872 will not affect existing contracts, LEOs, or existing certifications for facilities, but will be prospective, applying to new contracts or LEOs, and certifications or recertifications for facilities filed after the order’s effective date.

Dismissal of NERA Petition for Declaratory Order

On April 14, 2020, NERA filed a petition for declaratory order, seeking FERC’s declaration that FERC holds exclusive jurisdiction over wholesale energy sales from behind-the-meter generation[4] and requiring that the rates for such sales be priced pursuant to the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) or PURPA, when applicable.  Specifically, NERA asked FERC to declare jurisdiction over energy sales of rooftop solar and other distributed energy resources on the customer side whenever the output exceeds the customer’s demand, or the energy is meant to bypass customer load.  NERA characterized “full net metering,” as “a practice through which an electricity consumer produces electric energy from a generation source (most often solar panels) that is located on the same side of the retail meter as the customer’s load.”[5]  Historically, the Commission sees such transactions as retail in nature and regulated by the states.  NERA argued, however, that the energy exceeding customer demand or bypassing customer load is sold to a utility for resale to customers, making them wholesale sales, and therefore, subject to FERC’s jurisdiction.[6] 

The Commission began its analysis with a reminder: “Declaratory orders to terminate a controversy or remove uncertainty are discretionary.”[7]  The Commission then used its discretion not to address the issues presented, as they did not “warrant a generic statement” from FERC.[8]  The Commission found that NERA never identified “a specific controversy or harm” to be addressed.[9]  Further, the Commission found that to the extent NERA is concerned that certain New England state regulatory authorities are not pricing QF sales in accordance with PURPA, the petition did not meet PURPA’s requirements for enforcement. 


[1] Qualifying Facility Rates and Requirements Implementation Issues Under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, 172 FERC ¶ 61,041 (2020).

[2] New England Ratepayers Ass’n, 172 FERC ¶ 61,042 (2020) (“NERA Order”).

[3] Qualifying Facility Rates and Requirements Implementation Issues Under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, 168 FERC ¶ 61,184 (2019) (“NOPR”).

[4] Behind-the-meter generation refers to energy generated from the customer side of the retail meter.

[5] NERA Order at P 3.

[6] NERA Order at P 4.

[7] NERA Order at P 35.

[8] NERA Order at P 35.

[9] NERA Order at P 36-37.

The Energizer – Volume 70

By: Buck B. EndemannDaniel S. CohenMolly K. BarkerOlivia B. MoraAbraham F. JohnsNatalie J. ReidMatthew P. Clark

A biweekly update on clean technology applications, distributed energy resources, and other innovative technologies in the renewable energy and clean transport sector.

There is a lot of buzz around cleantech, distributed energy resources (“DERs”), microgrids, and other technological innovations in the renewable energy and clean transport industries. As these innovations develop, energy markets will undergo substantial changes to which consumer and industry participants alike will need to adapt and leverage. Every other week, K&L Gates’ The Energizer will highlight emerging issues or stories relating to the use of DERs, energy storage, emerging technologies, hydrogen, and other innovations driving the energy and clean transportation industries forward.

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • British Government Announces New Investments in Small Nuclear Reactor Projects
  • States Pledge to Reduce Emissions from Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles
  • Portland General Electric Company Launches Pilot Virtual Power Plant Program
  • Federal Appeals Court Upholds FERC Order to Open Wholesale Market to Storage
  • Power Ledger Releases RENeW Nexus Report Discussing its Residential Energy Trading Pilot in Western Australia

The Energizer – Volume 69

By: Buck B. EndemannDaniel S. CohenMolly K. BarkerOlivia B. MoraAbraham F. JohnsNatalie J. ReidMatthew P. Clark

A biweekly update on clean technology applications, distributed energy resources, and other innovative technologies in the renewable energy and clean transport sector.

There is a lot of buzz around cleantech, distributed energy resources (“DERs”), microgrids, and other technological innovations in the renewable energy and clean transport industries. As these innovations develop, energy markets will undergo substantial changes to which consumer and industry participants alike will need to adapt and leverage. Every other week, K&L Gates’ The Energizer will highlight emerging issues or stories relating to the use of DERs, energy storage, emerging technologies, hydrogen, and other innovations driving the energy and clean transportation industries forward.

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • Two Major Florida Utilities Begin to Transition Away from Coal
  • Pilot Program for Central American REC Market Completes First Stage
  • New California Regulations Transition Short-Haul Trucks to Zero-Emission Standards
  • Two More Major Western Utilities Commit to Close Coal-Fired Power Plants

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