Category Archives: Policy

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N.C. Governor Signs H.B. 589

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has signed H.B. 589 into law. H.B. 589, otherwise known as the Competitive Energy Solutions Plan, adds the following features to the already robust North Carolina solar industry: competitive bidding process for solar developers, a statewide rooftop solar leasing program, and the Green Source Rider Program, which allows large utility … Continue reading this entry

Nevada Legislature Approves Bills to Encourage Distributed Generation and Community Solar Projects

The Nevada legislature took several actions in the last days of its 2017 legislative session to reopen the state to the development of and investment in distributed generation and community solar projects.  While Nevada has the fourth most solar capacity installed of any state, most of the recent development has been of utility-scale projects after … Continue reading this entry

From ESA to Keystone to EPA, Changes Coming Fast

Few things are certain leading up to Donald Trump’s presidency. But there is no question that environmental and energy policy will take center stage in the days – perhaps hours – following his inauguration. Much of President Obama’s environmental legacy, particularly the parts stemming from executive actions, will be rolled back – and, more broadly, … Continue reading this entry

MISO Updates Interconnection Rules

FERC approved MISO’s proposed changes to its generator interconnection procedure (“GIP”) and generator interconnection agreement (“GIA”), designed to streamline MISO’s interconnection queue process. These changes will affect all interconnection requests made after January 4, 2017 and all prior requests that have not yet completed a system impact study. The new provisions are largely designed to … Continue reading this entry

Supreme Court of Illinois Says Courts Can Decide ARES Rate Disputes

Courts – not the ICC – have jurisdiction over rate cases involving an ARES, said the Supreme Court of Illinois.[1] In a unanimous opinion written by Chief Justice Karmeier, the Court in December answered the Seventh Circuit’s certified question whether rate claims against ARESs are under the jurisdiction of the ICC or the courts under … Continue reading this entry

IRS Issus New Guidance on the Beginning of Construction Safe Harbor For Renewable Energy Projects

The IRS recently issued Notice 2017-4 (the “Notice”) which makes two important changes to its “beginning of construction” rules for taxpayers seeking to take advantage of the section 45 renewable electricity production tax credit (PTC) for wind and other renewable energy facilities including geothermal, biomass, landfill gas and certain hydropower and marine hydrokinetic energy projects. Under prior IRS … Continue reading this entry

IRS Revokes Favorable PLR Concerning Ability of Tribe to Pass ITCs to Lessee in Master-Tenant Structure

In recently released Private Letter Ruling 2016-40-010 (the new ruling), the IRS prospectively revoked PLR 2013-10-001 (the original ruling), concluding that a Native American tribe may not elect to pass investment tax credits (ITC) associated with renewable energy assets on reservation lands to a taxable entity under Section 50(d)(5) of the Tax Code.  [Click here … Continue reading this entry

IRS Issues Proposed Rules on Income Inclusion under Section 50(d)(5)

The IRS just published long-awaited temporary regulations under section 1.50-1T governing the section 50(d)(5) income inclusion rules. These rules apply to lessees of investment credit property when the lessor elects to treat the lessee as having acquired the property for its fair market value and pass through the investment tax credit available under section 46 … Continue reading this entry

New Hampshire Doubles Solar Net Metering Cap

New Hampshire has doubled the caps on energy that both residential and commercial customer-generators of rooftop solar can sell back to the grid, raising the cap from 50 MW to 100 MW. The governor signed H.B. 1116, which was introduced this past March, into law on May 2, 2016. Net metering programs allow homeowners and … Continue reading this entry

IRS Issues New Notice Extending Beginning of Construction Safe Harbor

Yesterday, the IRS issued Notice 2016-31 (the “Notice”) which revises previous guidance on satisfying the “beginning of construction” test in order to take advantage of the section 45 renewable electricity production tax credit (PTC) for wind and other renewable energy facilities including geothermal, biomass, landfill gas and certain hydropower and marine hydrokinetic energy projects. The … Continue reading this entry

Developing a Business Case for Renewable Energy at Airports

The Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) recently released Report 151: Developing a Business Case for Renewable Energy at Airports (the Report). Foley partner David Bannard is a co-author of the Report, assisting lead investigators, Stephen Barrett and Philip DeVita of HMMH. The Report is a companion to ACRP Report 141: Renewable Energy as an Airport … Continue reading this entry

US Senate Passes Bipartisan Energy Bill

The first broad energy bill passed in nearly a decade was passed by the Senate yesterday with an 85-12 vote margin. The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016, S. 2012, responds to major changes to the energy landscape spurred by the growth in renewable energy and domestic natural gas and oil production. The bill includes provisions … Continue reading this entry

Massachusetts Raises Caps on Solar Net Metering

Massachusetts has raised the caps on the Commonwealth’s net metering program. The governor’s signature was inked on April 11, 2016 on a bill approved by the legislature last week, after months of negotiation. Net metering programs allow homeowners and other solar customers to sell excess power they generate back to the electrical grid in exchange … Continue reading this entry

Scalia’s Death Revives the Clean Power Plan

Last week the Clean Power Plan was basically dead.  Five Supreme Court justices had stayed it and determined that the challengers were likely to prevail on the merits.  But with Scalia’s passing, everything has changed.  The  Supreme Court now appears to be deadlocked as to the Plan’s legality.  And a tie at the Supreme Court … Continue reading this entry

Republican Lawmaker Wants to Revoke EPA’s New Authority to Regulate Greenhouse Gases

On February 1st, I published an editorial arguing that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should use an obscure provision of the Clean Air Act to broadly regulate greenhouse gas emissions. This provision, Section 115, would allow the EPA to issue new rule ordering every state to cut its pollution by 28 percent from 2005 levels … Continue reading this entry

Supreme Court Blocks President Obama's Clean Power Plan

clean power plan
In an unprecedented move, the Supreme Court issued an order yesterday staying the Clean Power Plan, which is widely regarded as the centerpiece of the Obama Administration’s effort to address climate change. The order temporarily halts the U.S. EPA from implementing the rule while litigation over its legality plays out in federal court. The D.C. … Continue reading this entry

North Carolina Considers Additional Statewide Permitting Requirement for Solar Farms

North Carolina has been a hotbed of activity for residential and utility scale solar developers. According to the Solar Energy Industry Association, the Tar Heel State ranks fourth in the country in terms of installed solar capacity (1,088 MW). However, the North Carolina Energy Policy Council (EPC)—an advisory body within the state’s Department of Environment … Continue reading this entry

California Net Metering Ruling; Installations Greater than 1 MW Now Eligible

In a closely watched hearing, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted 3-to-2 in favor of extending net metering in California. Eligible customers owning generation such as solar photovoltaic (PV) systems will continue to be able to net the electricity they produce against the electricity they consume. The decision establishes a successor program to the … Continue reading this entry

Just in Time for the Holidays: President Obama Signs ITC and PTC Extension Into Law

On Friday, President Obama signed into law the bipartisan $1.1 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 and the $680 billion Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015, better known as the omnibus and tax reform bill and the tax-extenders bill, respectively. As we discussed in detail in our prior blog post here, the … Continue reading this entry

Breaking News: Congress Set to Vote On Spending Bill Including 5 Year Extension of ITC and PTC

Congressional leaders reached a much anticipated bi-partisan agreement in an omnibus appropriations bill that includes an extension (with phasedowns) of the section 48 investment tax credit (ITC) for solar energy property and section 45 renewable electricity production tax credit (PTC) for wind. (The 2000+ page bill is available here.) A separate tax extenders bill (available … Continue reading this entry

Testing the Waters: The U.S. Supreme Court Agrees To Hear U.S. Army Corps’ Clean Water Act Determinations Challenge

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to the Eighth Circuit’s April 2015 ruling that U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (“Army Corps”) jurisdictional determinations are final agency actions subject to judicial review. The Eighth Circuit’s decision is contrary to a July 2014 Fifth Circuit ruling and thus created a circuit split. … Continue reading this entry

FERC Clarifies that Certain Qualifying Facilities (QFs) are Exempt from FPA Section 203

FERC recently issued an order confirming that certain qualifying facilities (“QFs”) under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) are exempt from section 203(a)(1) of the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) pursuant to section 292.601(c) of its regulations even if the QF has a market-based rates (“MBR”) tariff and/or generator interconnection facilities. FERC’s order … Continue reading this entry

California Expands Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50% by 2030

Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law SB 350, a landmark bill designed to promote greater implementation of renewable energy technologies over the next fifteen years. The new law will: (1) increase the state’s renewable portfolio standard to fifty percent by 2030; and (2) increase building energy efficiency in the state by fifty percent by … Continue reading this entry

IRS Releases Favorable Guidance for Individual Investors in Community Solar to Claim Section 25D Tax Credit

The IRS recently issued a Private Letter Ruling (PLR) clarifying that an individual investor in a net-meted community solar project may claim the federal residential Investment Tax Credit (ITC) under Section 25D of the Internal Revenue Code. (A copy of the PLR is available here.) The PLR is also significant because it appears to eliminate a … Continue reading this entry