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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.


Dynamic Pricing Triggers EV Owners’ Load Shift to Early Morning Hours

Supplying electricity during peak demand, the period of highest customer demand for electricity (typically around 4 – 7 p.m.), increases the costs of supply – both for transmission and distribution utilities and customers. Dynamic pricing is one potential remedy to this economic challenge of electricity supply. A recent study furthers the case for utilities to couple their dynamic pricing programs’ time-of-use electricity pricing with increased customer access to pricing information and recommended conservation actions.

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Governor Mills Nominates Former Chair of Legislature's Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee to Lead Maine PUC 

On behalf of Verrill Dana’s Energy & Utilities Practice Group, I’m pleased to inform you that Governor Mills has nominated Phil Bartlett to serve as Chair of the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

More information is provided below in the Governor’s press release.

Governor Mills Nominates Former Chair of Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee to Lead Maine PUC (May 28, 2019) - Former Senate Majority Leader Phil Bartlett helpedshepherd some of the state’s leading energy initiatives into law during time in Legislature.

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Beneficial Electrification, A Potential Win-Win for T&D Utilities, Regulators, and Environmentalists

According to a Boston Consulting Group report released last week, transmission and distribution (T&D) utilities stand to gain significant value from aggressive investment in grid capacity that facilitates the transition to an electrified transportation sector. The report’s estimated $3 to $10 billion in “new value for an average utility” is based on a utility serving 2 to 3 million customers, larger than any Maine electric utility’s customer base. Nonetheless, the opportunity to increase bottom lines while also reducing vehicle emissions remains applicable in Maine, particularly in areas where the loss of larger industrial customers like paper mills have left underutilized portions of the grid. 

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Maine to Participate in Discussions on Amending Federal Regulations to Boost Offshore Wind

April 9, 2019 – The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced the Trump Administration’s plans to propose “a series of regulatory changes later this year to boost offshore wind develop off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.” These changes could provide more welcome news to offshore wind developers on the heels of Maine Governor Janet Mills’ announcement that Maine is open for wind energy business, once again.[1]

The offshore wind regulatory process is a veritable laundry list of agency acronyms, licensing, and leasing requirements. Given that the lion’s share of potential offshore wind energy is in federal waters, navigating the federal process is necessary to realize the full benefit of the energy source. In broad strokes, here are the existing regulatory frameworks that the 2019 regulatory changes could amend. 

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The Latest: Governor Reported to Hire Burgess as Maine’s Energy Director

Reports are circulating that Governor Mills may have selected Dan Burgess as the Director of the Governor’s Energy Office. Burgess is a native of Newport and University of Maine alum. Burgess has been at the forefront of several renewable energy initiatives over the past decade. He has most recently worked in Massachusetts as the Deputy Commissioner and Chief of Staff of the Department of Energy Resources and also as the Legislative Director for Energy at the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.


MPUC Approves Term Sheet for Three Rivers Solar Power, LLC’s 100 MW Solar Project

Today, the Maine Public Utilities Commission approved a term sheet for a long-term contract for Three Rivers Solar Power, LLC’s 100 MW solar project. The Three Rivers Solar project will be located in Hancock County, Maine. It is a ground-mounted solar photovoltaic project, with an expected commercial operations date of no later than December 31, 2021. The term sheet provides the term of the long-term contract to be executed between Three Rivers and Emera Maine. The contract will be a ten-year energy only contract, with a price of $35/MWh in the first year of the contract. The price escalated 2.5% annually after the first year.

The Commission concluded that the project presents “a sufficient likelihood of providing ratepayer benefits over the term of the agreement to outweigh the risk inherent in long-term contracting” and that it satisfied the policy goals of 35-A M.R.S. § 3210-C(2). The Commission declined to move forward with six other long-term contract proposals.


U.S. Supreme Court Asked to Review Zero Emissions Credit Schemes

In two related cases, Petitioners are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down state generator subsidies that Petitioners argue distort competitive wholesale power markets that are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) under the Federal Power Act (FPA). Both cases concern “zero emission credits” (ZEC) schemes, one in Illinois and one in New York, that subsidize nuclear power plants. These ZEC subsidies allow otherwise uncompetitive nuclear plants to stay profitable and continue to operate, even if they fail to receive sufficient compensation in wholesale power auctions. Both the Second and Seventh Circuits have upheld the ZEC nuclear power subsidies.

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