Energy & Environmental Law Blog

Energy & Environmental Law Blog

Analyzing the critical energy and environmental issues of the day

Category Archives: Uncategorized

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Additional IRS Guidance on “Beginning of Construction” for ATRA 2012 Tax Credit Extensions

Posted in Federal, Uncategorized
By Pamela Charles The IRS has released additional guidance (IRS Notice 2013-60) on satisfying the new “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).  These credits are available to qualifying projects if construction of the facility begins… Continue Reading

FERC Approves Enforcement Settlement Regarding California Bidding Practices

Posted in California, Federal, Uncategorized
From Partner Mark Perlis of our DC office: FERC today approved an enforcement settlement agreement with JP Morgan, which requires JP Morgan to pay a civil penalty of $285 million and disgorgement of unjust profits of $125 million in connection with abusive bidding practices in the California Independent System Operator (“CAISO”) Day-Ahead and Real Time… Continue Reading

Pipeline Companies Look to Take Advantage of Natural Gas Produced from Shale

Posted in Northwest, Uncategorized
From Washington D.C. energy partner Barbara Jost: The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. made a filing with the FERC proposing to transform one of its existing lean gas lines into effectively a gathering line to move wet gas from gas fields within the Utica Shale play to to-be-constructed processing facilities and then to market.  As Tennessee… Continue Reading

Rep. Waxman, Sen. Whitehouse & Rep. Markey Form Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change

Posted in Uncategorized
From Craig Gannett of DWT’s Seattle office: Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), today announced the formation of a bicameral task force on climate change.  Their letter essentially urges the President to aggressively pursue GHG emission reductions under existing law, implicitly recognizing that no new legislation is possible… Continue Reading

Montana Bankruptcy Court Confirms Electricity Is a “Good” Under the Bankruptcy Code

Posted in Northwest, Uncategorized
From DWT bankruptcy partner Hugh McCullough: The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Montana in connection with In re Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative, Inc. held that electricity was a “good” for purposes of section 503(b)(9) of the Bankruptcy Code. That means that anyone sells electricity to a person who later… Continue Reading

CleanPowerSF: Political Correctness Trumps Energy Policy

Posted in California, Uncategorized
Read what my colleagues Steve Greenwald and Jeff Gray have to say about why CleanPowerSF is an exercise in political correctness in the latest edition of Power Magazine. http://www.powermag.com/issues/departments/legal_and_regulatory/CleanPowerSF-Political-Correctness-Trumps-Energy-Policy_5179.html My favorite quote and teaser:  “CleanPowerSF represents yet another Balkanizing, politically motivated misadventure in energy policy.”… Continue Reading

FERC to Revise Rules for Allocation of New Transmission Capacity By Non-Incumbent Developers

Posted in Federal, Uncategorized
From our colleague Jim Mitchell in our DC Office. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has proposed to provide developers of new merchant transmission projects and new cost-based, participant-funded transmission projects with increased flexibility to offer terms and conditions of service that may be desired by potential transmission service customers.  Under this proposal, transmission developers would… Continue Reading

Prop 65 List Continues to Grow

Posted in California, Uncategorized
From our colleague Tim Cunningham: Prop 65 continues to grow with the addition of a natural and commonly manufactured chemical used in many products including model airplane glue. California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has added methylisopropyl ketone to the Proposition 65 list. Proposition 65, also known as the Safe Water and Toxic… Continue Reading

Oregon’s Ambitious 10-Year Energy Action Plan

Posted in Northwest, Uncategorized
On June 6, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber released his draft 10-Year Energy Action Plan (http://oregon.gov/energy/Pages/Ten_Year_Energy_Plan_Draft.aspx). Written comments on the draft plan may be submitted to tenyearenergyplan@odoe.state.or.us and accepted through July 31. Three public workshops will be held at times and places to be announced.  The plan consists of a broad range of goals for the… Continue Reading

FERC Reaffirms Controversial Regional Transmission Planning Requirement for Transmission Providers

Posted in Federal, Uncategorized
From Brian Gish of our DC Office: On May 17, 2012, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued Order No. 1000-A that denies rehearing of its Order No. 1000, thus leaving in place the requirement that all FERC-jurisdictional electric transmission providers must participate in regional and inter-regional processes to plan for new transmission facilities.  Such transmission… Continue Reading

When is a Corporation Like the Emperor’s New Clothes?

Posted in Uncategorized
 Sometimes folks might take an investment risk as shareholders in a corporation or members of an LLC in situations where they wouldn’t risk their personal assets. People may think that forming a limited liability entity to hold contaminated properties or manage businesses with environmental risks protects them from liability beyond their investment. In environmental law… Continue Reading

Direct Access Cap for 2013 in California filled in less than 45 Seconds

Posted in California, Uncategorized
In an initial report requested by industry groups, the Energy Division of the California Public Utilities Commission released the results of the January 13, 2012 Direct Access enrollment.   This enrollment represents the limited phase-in of direct access stemming from Senate Bill 695.  The results are eyepopping. A lucky 141 customers jumped from utility service… Continue Reading

FERC Asks: When Does a Generation Developer Become a Transmission Provider?

Posted in Federal, Uncategorized
This blog post comes from my DC colleague Margaret Claybour. Generation developers on the West Coast should take special note as the FERC orders described in this blog all involve facilities out West. —————————— When an unwary generation developer builds a tie-line to the nearest transmission line, it might assume that the use of that… Continue Reading

New Director of the Consumer Protection and Safety Division of the California Public Utilities Commission

Posted in California, Uncategorized
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) announced a new director of the Consumer Protection and Safety Division (CPSD).  The former director was reassigned after the San Bruno tragedy and CPSD has been without a director for a number of months now. The search for a director was difficult as it was generally limited to others… Continue Reading

Commissioners Sandoval and Florio Confirmed

Posted in California, Uncategorized
Big news from the Legislature today, as the California State Senate unanimously confirmed the appointments of Commissioners Sandoval and Florio today.  The unanimity is a marked departure from more recent confirmation battles, including the recent failed attempts to seek confirmation for previous Commissioners Ryan and Chong. Congratulations to the newly confirmed Commissioners!… Continue Reading

California Public Utilities Commission Staff Releases Energy Storage Proposal

Posted in California, Uncategorized
The Commission staff issued their staff proposal a few days late in the storage proceeding, but you can find it here. The proposal initially lays out nine categories of energy storage adoption barriers: 1. Lack of definitive operational needs 2. Lack of cohesive regulatory framework 3. Evolving markets and market product definition 4. Resource Adequacy… Continue Reading

Pipeline Explosion Results in Commission Levying Highest Fine on a California Utility in History

Posted in California, Uncategorized
The CPUC issued a $38 million fine on PG&E for the Rancho Cordova pipeline explosion and fire that killed a man.  Commissioner Simon had extremely harsh words for PG&E for failing to comply with its own safety protocols in providing an introduction to his proposed fine.  Commissioner Ferron piled on even more harshly by pointing… Continue Reading

California Public Utilities Commission Launches New Formal Investigation Into PG&E’s Gas Pipelines

Posted in California, Uncategorized
  The Commission launched a formal investigation into PG&E’s gas pipelines located in areas of higher population density.  Specifically, the Commission is to review and determine whether “PG&E properly and safely reviewed, on a regular basis, its natural gas transmission pipelines to identify areas of increased population density so as to modify its maximum allowable operating pressures (taking pressure… Continue Reading

CPUC Opens New Proceeding to Review Interconnection of New Generation Resources and Energy Storage

Posted in California, Uncategorized
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued an Order Instituting Rulemaking last Thursday to review interconnection rules for new generation resources and energy storage.  For CPUC insiders and utility buffs, this means new changes to everyone’s favorite: Rule 21. With scattered reports over the years of the interconnection process being slow, discriminatory, costly, and completely… Continue Reading

California Self-Generation Incentive Program explained

Posted in California, Uncategorized
The California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) issued a decision modifying its Self-Generation Incentive Program primarily to base the incentive it provides for the development and commercialization of new distributed generation technologies on greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions and not on financial need or the cost-effectiveness of the technology. All in all, these rules seem to be… Continue Reading

How Valuable is your Renewable Energy in California?

Posted in California, Uncategorized
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has taken the next step in answering that question through its issuance of a ruling on July 12 requesting comments on the implementation of the “3 bucket” procurement category structure mandated by Senate Bill (SB) 2 (1x). We recently issued an advisory summarizing a new renewables rulemaking in which the CPUC will attempt… Continue Reading