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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
Apr102019

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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Friday
Mar012019

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.

Tuesday
Feb262019

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.

Friday
Feb222019

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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Friday
Feb152019

Governor Mills Lifts Wind Power Moratorium

On Thursday, Governor Mills issued an Executive Order lifting a moratorium on new wind energy permits. Former Governor Paul LePage issued the moratorium in January 2018 and created a Maine Wind Energy Advisory Commission to study the economic impact of wind turbines on tourism and local communities.

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Wednesday
Feb062019

An Interview with ME PUC Chair, Commissioners, and Former Chair

Sourced from Steve Mitnick, Public Utilities Fortnightly, “A Day (Two Actually) at the Maine PUC” (January 2019).

In this posting, I summarize a recent series of interviews with the current Maine PUC Chair, Commissioners, and Chair Emeritus, Tom Welch. The interviews appeared in the January 2019 edition of Public Utilities Fortnightly. All of the interviewees had strong praise and admiration for the hard-working and dedicated staff at the PUC.

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Tuesday
Jan222019

Times are Changing: Verrill Dana Hosts Full-Day Conference, 2019 Annual Employment Law Update

After a year full of changes for employers paired with a new governor in Maine, Verrill Dana will reflect on recent legal developments in labor and employment law and what the new year might bring during its 2019 Annual Employment Law Update. The full-day conference will take place on Thursday, January 31 at The Westin Harborview Hotel in Portland.

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