As many states see a push for renewable energy opportunities for their customers located in (or scouting new locations in) their borders, West Virginia legislators are poised to decide whether the state will facilitate such development. On January 8, 2020, two House bills were introduced that could open the door to more renewable choices.Read More
In a closely watched battle between FirstEnergy Solutions (“FirstEnergy”) and the Ohio Valley Energy Corporation (“OVEC”) that could have significant implications for the U.S. power sector, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio asserted its primacy over the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) in deciding whether to allow FirstEnergy to repudiate certain FERC-regulated power purchase agreements (“PPAs”). In a decision with significant implications for all participants in rapidly evolving wholesale power markets, the bankruptcy court applied the highly deferential business judgment standard instead of the more stringent standard applied by FERC when evaluating proposed changes to PPAs featuring mutually agreed-upon filed rates. The court’s decision is now the subject of a direct appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and the outcome may inspire additional action by Congress and the president.
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This post is one of a series of “practice tip” articles about renewable energy power purchase agreements.
There is a well-known Chinese proverb: “All problems derive from your big mouth.” These are words of wisdom for parties who are negotiating renewable energy PPAs.
In due diligence, we regularly come across on-site solar power purchase agreements (PPAs) that state that the seller is reserving all environmental attributes and selling only the project’s electricity to the buyer. This type of reservation is common in states like Maryland and Massachusetts, where environmental attributes may have a fairly high market value and may be monetized by the seller to make the project more marketable by effectively reducing the delivered price of electricity. However, despite this environmental attribute reservation, these PPAs too often go on to say, quite expressly, that the buyer has the right to announce that it is using “solar energy” or “renewable energy” produced by the project. This seemingly innocuous provision, intended to enable the buyer to brag about its renewable energy purchase, can create problems in PPAs where the seller also reserves environmental attributes.