On Friday, June 28, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) issued immediately effective emergency regulations to expand the RPS Solar Carve-Out Program Capacity Cap. The regulations will accommodate solar projects that have not previously qualified under the cap but are demonstrably far along in the development cycle and will also allow for small projects (100 kW and under) to continue to proceed, notwithstanding the fact that the program cap of 400 MW has been reached.
DOER announced its intent to issue these emergency regulations during DOER's June 7 RPS Solar Carve-Out presentation [see Day Pitney's 6/10/13 client alert]. The emergency regulations are consistent with market expectations following that June 7 presentation.
Some of the noteworthy elements of those regulations include:
DOER has posted on its website two Excel spreadsheets, one listing all projects that have been deemed qualified and are within the 400 MW capacity limit (RPS Solar Carve-Out Qualified Units) and one listing all projects that have submitted applications that are outside the 400 MW capacity limit (Pending SQAs). As discussed above, no later than July 12, 2013, DOER will post a final version of both lists, providing a final tally of projects that either have already qualified for the Solar Carve-Out Program or will be awarded a Statement of Qualification if the construction timelines described above are met.
By virtue of their nature as emergency regulations, these new rules became effective June 28. In accordance with Massachusetts law, they will remain in effect for 90 days, with an opportunity for DOER to make the regulations permanent. In its announcement corresponding to the issuance of the emergency regulations, DOER announced its intention to "soon schedule and announce a Public Hearing and comment period, in accordance with administrative procedures, and move to quickly promulgate the final regulation so as to keep the regulations in effect throughout the construction timelines and until the new Solar Carve-Out Program is commenced."
Those individuals with concern about the potential for change between the emergency regulations and the final regulations may take comfort in a statement made by DOER in its announcement of the issuance of the emergency regulations: "Given the importance of business decisions being made expeditiously based on the rules of the Emergency Regulations, DOER recognizes the prudence of completing the regulatory process quickly and without deviation".
As always, Day Pitney LLP will continue to stay abreast of the latest Massachusetts solar market developments and update our clients and friends.
Jennifer Galiette wrote an article, "State Strategy to Focus on Energy, Building Processes and Transportation," for The Connecticut Law Tribune. The article is about the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's (DEEP) announcement in May that it is beginning to develop a new statewide Comprehensive Energy Strategy (CES) for Connecticut.
On June 16, Harold Blinderman will be participating in the CBIA 2016 Energy & Environment Conference. Blinderman, who is co-chair of the CBIA waste task force, will speak about waste developments in Connecticut during an environmental regulatory overview session. He also will moderate a session on compliance strategies and enforcement.
David Doot, Joseph Fagan, James Blackburn and Patrick Gerity wrote an article published in Law360 entitled "Not So Fast, Ohio: FERC Weighs In On Wholesale Energy." The article discusses efforts by Ohio utilities, with the blessing of their state regulators, to enter into power purchase agreements (PPAs) that would increase revenues above the usual market revenues in order to maintain the economic viability and continued operation of certain of their affiliated (nuclear and coal-fired) power plants in Ohio. The utilities sought to avoid Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval of the PPAs by relying on a prior FERC waiver, but, in response to industry complaints, the FERC stepped in, explained that it would not allow the waiver to be applied here, and asserted its exclusive role in ensuring just and reasonable rates for wholesale sales of electric energy and capacity. The Ohio utilities are exploring alternatives to advance their goals (shared by Ohio) of providing above-market financial support to certain generators without invoking FERC’s jurisdiction. If these efforts are successful, other states may also seek to advance their public policy initiatives through similar creative mechanisms that impose higher costs on captive retail customers in the near term in ways designed not to avoid federal review. Such efforts are sure to be controversial and subject to regulatory and judicial challenges.
On May 19, Paul Belval will moderate a webinar held by the American College of Investment Counsel (ACIC). The webinar, entitled "New Developments in Energy Project Finance," will examine topics such as midstream oil and gas investments, investing in distributed solar portfolios, market trends affecting electricity prices and federal and state regulatory developments.
Tom Havens and Jennifer Galiette wrote an article, "Could Community Microgrids Be More Than Just A Fad?," for Law360. Additional research for the article was done by Samantha Bishop, a student at UConn Law School, during an externship with Day Pitney.
Joe Fagan was quoted in an article, "NY Nuke Plant Subsidies Will Likely Face Legal Battle," in Law360. The article is about the challenges that nuclear plant subsidies offered by New York state in its newly announced clean energy standard will likely face due to a U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision.
Hartford, Conn, June 9, 2016 - Day Pitney LLP is pleased to announce that David Doot has been selected as an Energy & Environmental Trailblazer by The National Law Journal, which profiles the top 50 business leaders in the energy and environmental space.
Jennifer Galiette has been elected Chair of the Energy, Public Utility and Communications Law Section of the Connecticut Bar Association for a term of two years. In her new role, she will be in charge of planning Section meetings and organizing educational and professional events for the Section’s more than 100 members. Galiette also serves as a member of the Section’s Executive Committee. She has been involved with the organization for over seven years, and has previously served as Treasurer, Secretary and Vice Chair of the Section.
Harold Blinderman was quoted in an article, “Attorneys React To The Paris Climate Change Deal,” in Law360. Blinderman was quoted on the significance of the historic agreement in Paris over the weekend to limit greenhouse gas emissions in hopes of curbing global warming.
Stamford, Conn., August 24, 2015 - Day Pitney is pleased to announce that 68 attorneys have been selected for inclusion in the 2016 Best Lawyers in America. Best Lawyers ranks lawyers through peer-review surveys, and has been published annually since 1983.