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US Court of Appeals Affirms District Court Judgment Upholding Federal Approval of Tule Wind Project on NEPA, Migratory Bird Act, and Bald & Golden Eagle Act Claims

By Christopher Garrett, Daniel Brunton and Taiga Takahashi On June 6, 2016, in Backcountry Against Dumps et al. v. Jewell et al., the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the judgment of the District Court for the Southern District of California upholding federal approvals for the Tule Wind Project. The Court of … Continue Reading

EPA Targets Oil and Gas Sector with Suite of New Emissions Rules

By Robert Wyman, Claudia O’Brien, Michael Carroll, Alicia Handy, Andrew Westgate and Samantha Seikkula On May 12, 2016, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final rules aimed at reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, in support of the Obama Administration’s efforts to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas … Continue Reading

California Adopts Comprehensive Groundwater Basin Adjudication Law

By Paul Singarella, Maria Hoye, John Heintz, Lucas Quass & John Morris California enacts basin adjudication statutes with the goal of reducing uncertainty, costs and time of water rights litigation. On October 9, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1390 (Alejo) and SB 226 (Pavley) to implement a comprehensive approach to groundwater basin adjudications … Continue Reading

Obama Administration Releases Infrastructure Permitting Guidance

By Marc Campopiano, Andrea Hogan and Joshua Marnitz On September 22, 2015, the White House, through the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), issued guidance to the heads of certain federal departments and agencies[1] (the Agencies) establishing metrics for the permitting and environmental review of infrastructure projects in … Continue Reading

Legislative Update: California Passes Groundbreaking Legislation Increasing Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Mandates, But Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Measures Fail

By Marc T. Campopiano, Joshua T. Bledsoe, Douglas Porter, Danny Aleshire, Jennifer Roy and Andrew Yancey The end of the California State Legislature’s regular session for the year culminated in a frenzy of action, with Assembly members scrambling to pass dozens of bills before midnight on September 12, 2015. The California Legislature voted on a package … Continue Reading

RETI 2.0: CEC and CPUC Plan for New Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative to Meet California’s Increasing Clean Energy Commitments

By Joshua T. Bledsoe, Marc T. Campopiano, and Max Friedman As California begins to turn the page on the first chapter of its efforts to combat climate change through AB 32 and to prepare for greater emissions reductions over the coming decades, the California Energy Commission (CEC) and California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) are considering … Continue Reading

President Obama Announces Increased Support for Distributed Energy Projects and Eligibility of State Green Banks to Apply for DOE Loan Guarantees

By Michael J. Gergen, Joshua T. Bledsoe, David E. Pettit and Tara L. Rice President Obama recently announced that the Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Program Office (LPO) is expanding support for innovative “distributed energy projects” by adding $1 billion in available loan guarantees to support the deployment of these projects through the existing solicitations for … Continue Reading

California Energy Commission Report Projects Local Electric Reliability Deficits By 2021, Potentially Triggering The Need For New Natural Gas Power Generation

By Michael Carroll, Marc Campopiano and Max Friedman The California Energy Commission (CEC) has released an August 2015 report projecting local reliability shortfalls in the Los Angeles basin planning area as early as 2021. The deficits may require new natural gas power generation to maintain grid reliability. This finding is part of the Integrated Energy … Continue Reading

Proposed Rule from US Department of the Interior Increases Pressure on Coal Mining Industry

By Paul Singarella, Claudia O’Brien, Marc Campopiano Daniel Brunton, Joshua Bledsoe, Lucas Quass, John Heintz, Joshua Marnitz and John Morris On July 27, 2015, the US Department of the Interior, through its Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), proposed to revise regulations adopted under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 … Continue Reading

CAISO Takes Step to Allow Distributed Energy Resources to Compete in Wholesale Energy Markets

By Joshua T. Bledsoe and Douglas K. Porter On June 10, 2015, the California Independent System Operator (“CAISO”) released a draft final proposal (the “Expanded Metering and Telemetry Options Phase 2, Distributed Energy Resource Provider”) that, if finalized, would represent an initial  step towards a regulatory structure that would result in distributed energy resources (“DERs”) … Continue Reading

BLM Receives Challenges to Greater Sage-Grouse Plans From All Sides

By Marc Campopiano and Max Friedman Following the May 28, 2015 release by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of 14 final Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) for land use plans designed to provide greater protection to the greater sage-grouse on approximately 50 million acres of BLM-managed land in 10 different western states, more than 40 … Continue Reading

DRECP Agencies Announce Phase I Updates

By Marc Campopiano, Joshua Bledsoe, Jennifer Roy, James Erselius Phase I of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (“DRECP”) is underway on the 9.8 million acres of public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”). As discussed in our previous post, the four lead agencies responsible for the plan introduced a phased approach to … Continue Reading

Bill to Streamline Federal Permitting for Major Energy and Infrastructure Projects Advances in the US Senate

By Andrea Hogan and Joshua Marnitz On May 6, 2015, the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs voted 12-1 in favor of a bill designed to streamline the Federal permitting process for major energy and infrastructure projects. The bill, first introduced in January 2015 by Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Claire McCaskill … Continue Reading

California’s Strict New Health Risk Assessment Guidelines May Increase Regulatory Burden on Industrial Uses and Development Projects

By Marc Campopiano and Max Friedman On March 6, 2015, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) updated its Guidance Manual for Preparation of Health Risk Assessments (HRAs) for the purpose of better characterizing exposure risks to children from air toxics.  Using the new Guidance Manual, HRAs are expected to estimate risks that … Continue Reading

PJM Proposes Capacity Performance Rules That Will Present New Opportunities and Risks for Clean Energy Resources

By Michael Gergen and Eli Hopson In response to poor performance by many generation resources in the PJM region during the 2014 “Polar Vortex” and concerns over the increasing reliance on natural gas-fired generation resources in the PJM region, PJM filed under Section 205 of the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) proposed “Capacity Performance” rules to revise … Continue Reading

FERC Accepts Almost All of the CAISO’s Proposed Flexible Resource Adequacy Capacity and Must-Offer Obligation Requirements

By Michael J. Gergen and Marc T. Campopiano On October 16, 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued an Order on Tariff Revisions, FERC Docket No. ER14-2574, conditionally accepting, with two substantive modifications, tariff changes proposed by the California Independent System Operator (“CAISO”) to establish new flexible resource adequacy capacity (“FRAC”) and must-offer obligation … Continue Reading

SDG&E 2014 Energy Storage Systems Request for Offers Among the Largest to Date

By Michael J. Gergen, Marc T. Campopiano and Andrew H. Meyer On September 5, 2014, San Diego Gas & Electric (“SDG&E”) issued a 2014 Energy Storage System (“ESS”) Request for Offers (“RFO”) soliciting at least 25 MW—and up to 800 MW—of energy storage (the “2014 ES RFO”).  SDG&E’s 2014 ES RFO is among the largest … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Holds that Texas Public Utility Commission Can Limit Ability of Intermittent Wind Generators to Sell Their Power Under PURPA As “Firm Power,” Contrary to FERC and District Court

By Michael J. Gergen and Tyler Brown On September 8, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (“Fifth Circuit”), in a 2-1 decision, reversed an opinion by the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas (“District Court”) and held that the Public Utility Commission of Texas (“PUCT”) acted within … Continue Reading

CPUC Opens Rulemaking to Incorporate Distributed Energy Resources Into Grid Planning Process for California’s Investor-Owned Utilities

By Michael J. Gergen, Marc T. Campopiano, and Andrew H. Meyer On August 14, 2014, the California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) issued an Order Instituting Rulemaking (“Order”) to establish policies, procedures, and rules to guide California investor-owned electric utilities (“IOUs”) in developing their Distribution Resources Plan Proposals (“DRPs”) in accordance with the requirements of Public … Continue Reading

CAISO Asks FERC to Approve Tariff Changes Establishing Flexible Resource Adequacy Capacity and Must-Offer Obligation Requirements

By Michael J. Gergen and Andrew H. Meyer On August 1, 2014, the California Independent System Operator (“CAISO”) filed proposed tariff changes at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) in FERC Docket No. ER14-2574 that would establish new flexible resource adequacy capacity (“FRAC”) and must-offer obligation (“MOO”) requirements aimed at ensuring that adequate flexible capacity … Continue Reading

CAISO Energy Storage Interconnection Initiative

By Michael J. Gergen, Eli Hopson, and Andrew H. Meyer The California Independent System Operator (“CAISO”) is moving forward with a stakeholder initiative to examine issues with connecting energy storage facilities to the CAISO controlled grid under the CAISO’s existing interconnection rules, and to develop new policies as needed to clarify and facilitate interconnection of energy … Continue Reading

DOE Announces New Renewable and Efficient Energy Loan Guarantee Solicitation

By Michael Gergen and Eli Hopson On July 3, 2014, the United States Department of Energy’s (DOE) Loan Programs Office issued a new “Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy” solicitation for loan guarantees. DOE issued the Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy solicitation under Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and its implementing regulations … Continue Reading

FERC Conditionally Accepts CAISO and PacifiCorp Proposals to Implement a Regional Energy Imbalance Market in Western States

By Michael J. Gergen, Jared W. Johnson, and David E. Pettit On June 19, 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or “Commission”) conditionally accepted revisions to the California Independent System Operator Corporation’s (“CAISO”) FERC Electric Tariff to implement the CAISO’s proposed Energy Imbalance Market (“EIM”) that will allow neighboring balancing area authorities (“BAAs”) in … Continue Reading
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