Energy & Environmental Law Blog

Energy & Environmental Law Blog

Analyzing the critical energy and environmental issues of the day

Category Archives: Renewables

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NYPSC Clarifies Clean Energy Standard (“CES”) and Commences First Compliance Year

Posted in Renewables
On August 1, 2016, the New York Public Service Commission (the “NYPSC” or “Commission”) issued an Order Adopting a Clean Energy Standard (CES Order).[1]  In the CES Order, the Commission adopted the State Energy Plan (“SEP”) goal that 50% of New York’s electricity is to be generated by renewable sources by 2030 as part of a… Continue Reading

“The War Is Over”: Assemblymember Gatto Introduces Bill to Memorialize CPUC Reform Package

Posted in California, Renewables
At an August 11th conference organized by the Advanced Energy Economy, Assemblymember Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), Chair of the Utilities and Commerce Committee, and California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) President Michael Picker participated in a panel discussion on CPUC reform efforts. Gatto declared that “the war is over,” referencing the sparring between the Legislature and… Continue Reading

NYPSC Set to Adopt Clean Energy Standard Aimed at 50% Renewables Goal

Posted in Renewables, Rulemakings
The New York State Energy Plan (“SEP”) calls for 50% of all electricity used in New York State by 2030 to be generated from renewable energy sources (the “50 by 30 Goal”). Additionally, the SEP sets aggressive 2030 targets for emissions (40% reduction in greenhouse gas from 1990 levels) and energy efficiency gains (23% reduction… Continue Reading

Fish and Wildlife Service Supports Renewable Developers and Proposes Revised Eagle Incidental Take Permit Reviving 30-Year Duration

Posted in Federal, Renewables, Rulemakings
On May 4, 2016, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) released a draft rule and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) analyzing the impact of the proposed rule on eagles, and extending the duration of permits from 5 years to up to 30 years. This continues the agency’s effort to support wind farms and… Continue Reading

Oregon PUC outlines ambitious schedule for implementation of Clean Electricity programs

Posted in Electric Power, Northwest, Renewables, Rulemakings
At an April 21 workshop, the Oregon Public Utility Commission presented its timeline for implementing a variety of programs in the wake of the state’s recently passed and far-ranging energy bill, SB 1547 (the “Oregon Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan”).  Most widely known for its provisions increasing renewable portfolio standards and phasing out coal-fired… Continue Reading

CPUC Implementation of the Renewables Portfolio Standard Beyond 2020 Begins

Posted in California, Renewables
– a dispatch from  California Energy attorney Vid Prabhakaran – The California Public Utilities Commission is revving itself up to take on the task of putting together a whole new set of procurement requirements to implement the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS)-related provisions of Senate Bill (SB) 350. As described in an earlier blog entry, SB… Continue Reading

Oregon Legislature Passes Sweeping Energy Bill

Posted in Northwest, Renewables
The Oregon Legislature on Wednesday passed a sweeping and contentious bill that signals significant changes for the state’s energy industry.  Senate Bill 1547, the final home for the “Oregon Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan,” touches many areas of the industry. The aspects of the legislation that are receiving the most press are the requirements… Continue Reading

California Electric Vehicle Chargers Could Soon Qualify as Eligible Energy Storage Technology

Posted in California, Electric Power, Renewables
Later this year, the California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) intends to issue a proposed decision addressing whether one-way managed or controlled charging of electric vehicles (often referred to as “V1G”) will be eligible for future energy storage solicitations.  Parties to the energy storage proceeding will have at least one more opportunity to convince the CPUC… Continue Reading

CPUC Takes First Step Towards Developing Integrated Energy Resource Plan

Posted in California, Renewables
Senate Bill (“SB”) 350, which the California legislature passed in 2015, sets ambitious goals for the state, including a 50% renewables portfolio standard and a doubling of energy efficiency by 2030.  To help encourage a coordinated approach to meeting these goals, SB 350 mandates that the California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) examine the future of… Continue Reading

Could the US Be “Aiding and Abetting” Cape Wind MBTA Violations?

Posted in Federal, Litigation, Natural Resources, Renewables
In the latest legal wrangling over the long-delayed Cape Wind Associates’ wind farm off Nantucket, during oral argument judges on the DC Circuit suggested that by permitting the wind farm, the US might be aiding and abetting violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  Whatever the outcome of the particular case, the comments may be… Continue Reading

Senate Bill 350 Calls for Higher Renewables Portfolio Standard, Higher Energy Efficiency Targets, an Expanded System Operator, but No Petroleum Reduction Targets

Posted in California, Climate Change, Renewables
As most of you know by now, Senate Bill (“SB”) 350, the much-chronicled and debated Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015, passed out of the California Legislature and is currently awaiting signature by Governor Brown.  The bill currently includes the following significant changes to California’s energy and climate goals:… Continue Reading

Windfarm Industry Suffers Setback as Court Rejects 30 Year Eagle Permit Rule

Posted in NEPA, Renewables, Rulemakings
On August 11, 2015, a district court in Silicon Valley remanded a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) rule issued in 2013 that had extended the potential term of incidental take permits under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Protection Act) from 5 years to 30 years.  Bird protection groups challenged FWS issuance of… Continue Reading

Possible Renewable Identification Number Price Spike Due to Proposed EPA Compliance Deadline Causes Biofuel Industry Concern

Posted in EPA, Oil & Gas, Renewables, Rulemakings
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the annual percentage standards for ethanol, cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuels that apply to all gasoline and diesel produced or imported each year.   EPA blending requirements for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to date have been reduced to address the “blend wall” – the… Continue Reading

USFWS Launches New Regulatory Program Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

Posted in Environmental Quality, Renewables
The US Fish and Wildlife Service issued a Notice of Intent to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of an incidental take program under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The agency anticipates the development of general authorizations for particular industry sectors, focusing first on oil and gas… Continue Reading

Free Webinar: Bird Mortality and Renewable Energy Facilities

Posted in Natural Resources, Renewables
        You see the headlines regularly –wind farms and solar arrays kill birds and companies pay major fines. Bird mortality is an increasingly sensitive topic for energy companies and their facilities, with complex and widespread legal implications. On June 2, Davis Wright Tremaine partner Gerald George  and Adrian Delnevo, PhD., CEO and… Continue Reading

Governor Jerry Brown Calls for 50% Renewables by 2030

Posted in California, Renewables
Yesterday during Governor Brown’s inaugural address for his 4th term, the Governor announced 3 ambitious carbon-reduction goals. Increase from 33% to 50% electricity derived from renewable sources; Reduce today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50%; and Double the efficiency of existing buildings and making heating fuels cleaner. Stay tuned. This means lots… Continue Reading

Additional IRS Guidance on Physical Work Test and Facility Transfers for Energy Tax Credits

Posted in Federal, Renewables
The IRS has released additional guidance (Notice 2014-46) on the “beginning of construction” requirement for the renewable energy production tax credit under Code Section 45 (PTC) and energy investment tax credit under Code Section 48 (ITC).  The notice clarifies the application of the Physical Work Test and the effect that certain transfers of a facility… Continue Reading

As Wind Farm Industry Matures, Environmental Opposition Grows

Posted in Federal, Land Use, NEPA, Renewables
The wind farm industry has been the fastest growing element of the renewables in the US.  Despite the political obstacles facing developers, on-shore operations are expanding, and offshore operations are expected to kick off in the next few years along the East Coast.  An unwelcome sign of that success may be the increased scrutiny being… Continue Reading

DOI Secretary Jewell Announces Two Utility-Scale Solar Projects in California and Nevada

Posted in California, Electric Power, Federal, Land Use, Renewables
Secretary Jewell, of the Department of Interior, announced approval of two utility-scale solar projects located on the California-Nevada border. The Stateline Solar Project will be located in the Mojave Desert in San Bernardino County, California, and supply 300-megawatts of renewable energy to power 90,000 homes and create an estimated 400 jobs during constructions and 12… Continue Reading

EPA Reissues Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards for New Power Plants

Posted in Climate Change, EPA, Federal, Renewables, Rulemakings
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has re-proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards for new fossil-fuel power plants, exercising existing authority under section 111(b) of the Clean Air Act.  Proposed rule re Electric Utility Generating Units.  The key proposal is an emission standard for new coal-fired power plants that would require the incorporation of substantial… Continue Reading