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DISCLAIMER: This blog is published for general information only - it is not intended to constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon by any person as legal advice. While we welcome you to contact our authors, the submission of a comment or question does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and you.

Wednesday
Nov152017

Maine Department of Environmental Protection Issues Draft Wind Energy Act Rules

After more than a year of pre-rulemaking process including issuance of two drafts, the Maine DEP has commenced formal rulemaking and today issued draft rules for wind energy developments in Maine. The formal draft largely tracks the most recent pre-rulemaking version issued in January, 2017. The draft rules include standards for evaluating scenic impacts, limits on shadow flicker, provisions related to public safety, and requirements for demonstrating significant tangible benefits.

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Tuesday
Nov072017

Microgrids: The Next “Big” Thing?

There has been a lot of conversation lately about “microgrids.”  And, given the significant power outages experienced in Maine and the Northeast this past week due to extreme weather events, these conversations are bound to increase.

But, what exactly are microgrids, and how can they help?  Not everyone agrees.

In simple terms, a microgrid is a small portion of a larger electric system that is able to be “walled off” from the rest of the grid for purposes of reliability, and it would include a combination of generation and storage resources so that, when there is a system outage, the microgrid can remain running.  Typically, microgrids are appropriate for critical infrastructure like hospitals or military bases.

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Monday
Oct092017

Verrill Dana Co-hosts Fifth Annual Natural Gas Conference

On Thursday, September 28, Verrill Dana and Pierce Atwood co-hosted the 5th Annual Natural Gas Conference: Powering Maine’s Future at The Woodlands in Falmouth, Maine. The conference kicked off with Keynote Speaker Governor Paul LePage who discussed the state of the natural gas industry in Maine and its potential future. Later in the day, during the luncheon, Kurt Adams, President and CEO of Summit Utilities, Inc., delivered a keynote address.

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Thursday
Aug032017

Clients Recognize Verrill Dana for Best Client Service in BTI Power Rankings 2017 

Verrill Dana has been recognized for its unparalleled client relationships in the BTI Power Rankings 2017: The Law Firms with the Best Client Relationships in 18 Industries for the second year in a row. In the rankings, clients identified Verrill Dana as a Leading Core, Go-To Firm in Energy, positioning it in the top 5% of law firms within the global energy industry. The firm was also named to the Honor Roll of Recommended Firms in Utilities, ranking it in the top 10% of law firms in the world within the utilities industry.

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Tuesday
Aug012017

“Untethered” Clean Energy Subsidies Survive Post-Hughes Preemption Challenges

Last year in Hughes v. Talen, the Supreme Court struck down a Maryland generator subsidy program, concluding that it had a direct impact on the wholesale energy auctions and was therefore preempted by the Federal Power Act (FPA). Broadly speaking, under the FPA, wholesale energy sales are federally regulated, by FERC and regional grid operators, and retail sales are state regulated. As described by the court, the fatal flaw inherent in Maryland’s program was that it was directly linked to the generator’s participation in the regional wholesale energy (or capacity) auction—it required generators to bid into the wholesale market but guaranteed them a price distinct from the market clearing price, thereby distorting the wholesale market. Critically, however, the court expressly limited its holding, stating: “Nothing in this opinion should be read to foreclose Maryland and other States from encouraging production of new or clean generation through measures untethered to a generator’s wholesale market participation.” (emphasis added)

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Tuesday
Aug012017

The Future of the Kennebunk Dams

On Thursday July 20th, the Board of Selectmen for the Town of Kennebunk held a workshop to gather information regarding the Town’s potential role in the future of three dams along the Mousam River in Kennebunk, Maine.  The Board workshop was centered around a presentation prepared by Verrill Dana attorneys Scott Anderson and Jim Cohen.  During the meeting, Anderson presented four options for the future of the dams, including whether or not to conduct an independent “peer review” of the economics of retaining or abandoning the dams.

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Friday
Jun232017

Energy Startups: Opportunities, Challenges, & Considerations

In a presentation during Maine Startup & Create Week, Verrill Dana partner Jim Cohen, a utilities and energy lawyer with more than 25 years of experience, moderated a panel focused on the question, “How can tech disrupt energy?” With innovation and new technologies being developed in the industry, and consumers seeking more affordable and cleaner options, Jim led a discussion with panelists Ryan Nesbitt of Arcadia Power; Ben Polito of Pika Energy; Kat Joyce of Bernstein Shur; and Ben Sampson of GE Ventures.

Beginning with a general foundation and overview of the energy space, conversations flowed into the collaboration between utilities and new energy startups, as well as how to increase focus on consumer engagement to achieve a balance between attention and sustainability in the marketplace.

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