Energy Law Update

Information and Announcements from Verrill Dana

Energy Law Update is a source of news and analysis relevant to the world of energy law: major court and regulatory orders, event announcements, breaking news in the world of renewable energy, and novel legal issues. The blog is edited by Katie Gray and Nora Healy, and features contributions from other members of the firm.

Latest from Energy Law Update

According to a Boston Consulting Group report released last week, transmission and distribution (T&D) utilities stand to gain significant value from aggressive investment in grid capacity that facilitates the transition to an electrified transportation sector. The report’s estimated $3 to $10 billion in “new value for an average utility” is based on a utility serving 2 to 3 million customers, larger than any Maine electric utility’s customer base. Nonetheless, the opportunity to increase bottom lines…
April 9, 2019 – The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced the Trump Administration’s plans to propose “a series of regulatory changes later this year to boost offshore wind develop off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.” These changes could provide more welcome news to offshore wind developers on the heels of Maine Governor Janet Mills’ announcement that Maine is open for wind energy business, once again.[1] The offshore wind regulatory process is a veritable…
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 worked in Massachusetts as the Deputy Commissioner and Chief of Staff of the Department of Energy Resources and also as the Legislative Director for Energy at…
Today, the Maine Public Utilities Commission approved a term sheet for a long-term contract for Three Rivers Solar Power, LLC’s 100 MW solar project. The Three Rivers Solar project will be located in Hancock County, Maine. It is a ground-mounted solar photovoltaic project, with an expected commercial operations date of no later than December 31, 2021. The term sheet provides the term of the long-term contract to be executed between Three Rivers and Emera Maine.…
In two related cases, Petitioners are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down state generator subsidies that Petitioners argue distort competitive wholesale power markets that are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) under the Federal Power Act (FPA). Both cases concern “zero emission credits” (ZEC) schemes, one in Illinois and one in New York, that subsidize nuclear power plants. These ZEC subsidies allow otherwise uncompetitive nuclear plants to…
On Thursday, Governor Mills issued an Executive Order lifting a moratorium on new wind energy permits. Former Governor Paul LePage issued the moratorium in January 2018 and created a Maine Wind Energy Advisory Commission to study the economic impact of wind turbines on tourism and local communities. Controversy surrounded the moratorium immediately and renewable energy groups unsuccessfully sued to overturn it. Meanwhile the Wind Energy Advisory Commission floundered without any clear agenda, budget, or goal…
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 Public Utilities Fortnightly. All of the interviewees had strong praise and admiration for the hard-working and dedicated staff at the PUC. Chair Mark Vannoy The current Chair,…
After a year full of changes for employers paired with a new governor in Maine, Verrill Dana will reflect on recent legal developments in labor and employment law and what the new year might bring during its 2019 Annual Employment Law Update. The full-day conference will take place on Thursday, January 31 at The Westin Harborview Hotel in Portland. The all-day event will begin with a panel discussion of a 2018 labor and employment year…
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 service as of January 2018, Chapter 313 (1) in light of the declining costs of constructing small renewable generation facilities and (2)  in order to reduce…
You might assume that if an endangered species is nowhere to be found on your property, you can rest easy.  “No,” said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which decided in 2012 that if your land might be a good place for the Dusky Gopher frog to live, you might be subject to development restrictions under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Weyerhaeuser sued, claiming that USFWS’s decision about what constitutes “critical habitat” was too broad. …