Utilities Sector

News & Analysis as of

Maryland Public Service Commission Issues Draft Regulations Implementing Community Solar Pilot Program

On November 10, 2015, five months after Maryland Governor Larry Hogan approved a law creating a three-year pilot program for community solar projects in the state, the Public Service Commission (PSC or Commission) released...more

Competition and Regulation Update: Storage in the National Electricity Market - Is the Grid Moving In?

Electricity storage at or above household scale will likely become economic within the next few years, as the cost of batteries come down and generous feed in tariffs slowly expire. Australia could be one of the world's...more

Repeal of AB 1103, California’s Nonresidential Building Energy Use Disclosure Program

Since December 2013, Perkins Coie has sent out three client updates regarding California Assembly Bill (AB) 1103, the California Energy Commission’s (CEC) Nonresidential Building Energy Use Disclosure Program. The purpose of...more

Government Contract: How Can a Subcontractor Get Paid?

G4S Technology LLC v. US, 779 F.3d 1337 (Fed. Cir. 2015) – A subcontractor worked on construction of wireless broadband networks for rural communities that was funded in part by a loan to the prime contractor from a US...more

CPUC Proposed Decision Extends Pole Attachment Rights to CMRS Providers

On Friday, October 30, 2015, the Assigned Commissioner to a rulemaking at the California Public Utility Commission (“CPUC”) issued a Proposed Decision to extend the state’s pole, conduit and right of way access rights to...more

Update on Environmental Regulations Impacting the Power Sector – Litigation May Create Uncertainty

As the electric power industry considers the options for compliance with an unprecedented suite of new environmental requirements, it faces continued uncertainty as to the fate of some of the most significant new regulations....more

Brave New World: SB 350 Increases CA’s Renewable Energy and Efficiency Goals

California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 350, the “Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015” on October 7, 2015. SB 350 reflects some of Governor Brown’s bold commitments from his inaugural speech...more

Policy and Legal Implications of Implementing Renewable Energy at Scale: Renewables Intermittent Power Generation (Part 6 of 6)

Tom Burton, Chair of Mintz Levin’s Energy Technology Practice, has published a weekly installment providing insight into the challenges and possible solutions that, if implemented, promise a bright future as clean energy...more

Energy Bulletin (US) - October 2015

This regular publication by DLA Piper lawyers focuses on helping clients navigate the ever-changing business, legal and regulatory landscape. Supreme Court hears “demand-response” arguments on FERC rule. On October 14,...more

Supreme Court Hears Arguments on FERC Demand Response Policy

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 ("EPAct 2005") established a national policy to encourage reliable and affordable demand response services. Demand response refers to the ability of retail electric customers to reduce or shift...more

Worth the Wait? After Thirty-Six Years, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission Takes Comprehensive Action on Pole...

On October 21, 2015, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (“WUTC”) adopted a comprehensive set of pole attachment rules (hereinafter “Pole Attachment Rules”), following a year-and-a-half-long rulemaking and...more

New Legislation (AB 802) To Replace Existing Energy Use Disclosure Law (AB 1103)

On Thursday, October 8, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 802 (AB 802). AB 802 creates a new energy use disclosure program for the State of California, and replaces the existing law, Assembly Bill 1103...more

California Expands Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50% by 2030

Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law SB 350, a landmark bill designed to promote greater implementation of renewable energy technologies over the next fifteen years. The new law will: (1) increase the state’s...more

Planning for the Future and Knowing the Past

Planning is words on a page and lines on a map. It is not reality, but a projection of the future. And the future is uncertain – just ask those who predict when the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates. ...more

FERC Issues Final Rule Streamlining Market-Based Rate Policies and Procedures

On October 16, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued Order No. 816, a Final Rule streamlining its requirements for authorization to make wholesale sales of electric energy, capacity and ancillary...more

Policy and Legal Implications of Implementing Renewable Energy at Scale: To DG or Not to DG – That’s The Question (Part 5 of 6)

The Problem: To DG or Not to DG – That’s The Question: The rapid growth of distributed generation (DG) over the past two years is expected to continue: as of 2013, the U.S. installed one PV solar system every four...more

Power dynamics: Forces shaping the future of coal in the United States

Coal-fired plants have been the backbone of US power generation for more than a century, and they still account for nearly 40 percent of power generation in the country. But coal's dominance in the United States is waning. It...more

Governor Signs Amendments to SGMA, with Provisions for Water Utilities Regulated by CPUC

In the last two months, Governor Brown has signed several bills into law, amending the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA or the Act). Two bills, Assembly Bill 1390 and Senate Bill 226, addressed the specifics...more

Renewable Energy Update - October 2015 #3

Renewable Energy Focus - Attractive PPA prices will keep U.S. utility-scale solar power strong: Solar Industry Magazine - Oct 13: Reports of the death of utility-scale solar in the U.S. have been greatly exaggerated. A...more

California's New Climate Era: SB 350 and Beyond

Two out of three ain’t bad. Climate change policy advocates may find themselves quoting Meat Loaf with the enactment of Senate Bill (SB) 350, which California’s Legislature passed last month and which Governor Jerry...more

Solving the Chicken and the Egg Problem: Increasing Natural Gas Demand and Building Pipeline

Presidential candidate Jeb Bush recently laid out his vision for America’s energy future. Not coincidentally, Mr. Bush made this announcement in the heart of the Marcellus shale region. In the last decade, natural gas...more

EPA Clean Power Plan Considerations: Wheeling Renewable Power

Here’s what you need to know about the opportunities and regulatory impacts. Investment in renewable generating capacity is a key building block of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA’s”) Clean Power Plan to...more

Battle Lines Drawn in Arizona Solar Rate Design Cases

Electric utilities and residential solar companies continue to wrangle over charges applicable to rooftop solar customers. Recent filings in rate design cases involving Arizona Public Service Company (APS) and UNS Electric,...more

Pacific Northwest Utilities Seek Key FERC Declarations Regarding New Regional Market

Two weeks ago, a diverse group of electric industry entities in the Pacific Northwest filed a Petition for a Declaratory Order asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to decide issues raised by establishing a...more

Maine considers net metering alternative

The Maine Office of the Public Advocate has proposed a new mechanism to encourage the development of solar energy capacity in the state. Under Maine’s existing law, customers with onsite generation may choose “net energy...more

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