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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.

Entries in Energy (8)

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.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun202017

How Can Tech Disrupt Energy?

On Wednesday, June 21, as part of Maine Startup & Create Week, Verrill Dana partner Jim Cohen, a utilities and energy lawyer for more than 25 years, will moderate a panel entitled “How Can Tech Disrupt Energy?” Panelists include Ben Polito, president of Pika Energy; Ryan Nesbitt, co-founder and president of Arcadia Power; and Ben Sampson, director of Energy Ventures at GE Ventures.

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Monday
Jan232017

2017 Maine Legislature to Consider a Variety of Energy Bills

On Friday, January 6, Maine Governor Paul LePage released his biennial general fund budget for 2018-19. The Governor’s proposed biennial budget and briefing document can be found here. The main priority in the Budget is reducing Maine’s top income tax rate from 10.15 percent to 7.15 percent this year, and then implementing a flat tax of 5.75 percent by 2020.  The Budget also purports to make changes to how General Purpose Aid to Education is distributed to public K-12 schools, eliminate State support for General Assistance, eliminates the cap on public charter schools, elevates information services and cybersecurity to a new Cabinet-level Department, tightens eligibility requirements for Medicaid, creates a new statewide public defender system, allows municipalities to assess municipal service fees on large not-for-profit entities, and eliminates 500 state government jobs (300 of which are currently vacant).

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Tuesday
Oct042016

Natural Gas: Where Do We Go From Here?

With cold weather approaching, natural gas production expected to rise and expansion projects underway, Verrill Dana and Pierce Atwood will host their fourth annual, Natural Gas: Where do we go from here? on Thursday, October 6 at The Woodlands in Falmouth, Maine. 

The all-day event, co-chaired by Verrill Dana attorney William Harwood, will feature keynote speaker, Patrick Woodcock, Director of the Governor’s Energy Office and lunchtime speaker, Former Maine Public Utilities Chair, Tom Welch. Panel discussions will cover:

  • “Gas vs. Renewables – Allies or competitors?” - Featuring Verrill Dana attorney Jim Cohen
  • “Safety – Are we doing enough?” - Featuring Verrill Dana attorney Katie Gray
  • “Pipeline Expansion – Do we still need it?” 

 Find more details on the event and the full agenda on Verrill Dana’s website.

Tuesday
Mar152016

Maine Solar Bill Proposes to Expand Capacity Without Net Metering

On March 10, the Maine Legislature’s Energy, Utilities & Technology Committee reported out a bill that is the culmination of the solar stakeholder process at the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The bill sets a target of developing 248 MW of new solar capacity over a five-year period beginning in 2017. The bill defines four categories of solar power development in Maine: grid-scale, large-scale community, commercial and industrial, and residential and small business.

As previously explained here, the most controversial aspect of the new legislation is that it would end net metering (AKA “net energy billing”) for rooftop solar. During the solar stakeholder process at the PUC, a compromise consensus emerged among the utilities, the solar industry, environmental groups, and the Office of the Public Advocate, which represents ratepayers in Maine.

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Friday
Apr242015

Energy Infrastructure Gets Regional, National and Global Attention

Energy infrastructure is all the rage these days. 

Earlier this week the White House released its inaugural Quadrennial Energy Review, which “examines how to modernize our nation’s energy infrastructure to promote economic competitiveness, energy security and environmental responsibility.”  Not surprisingly, the report calls for major investments to upgrade and modernize transmission lines, pipelines and other infrastructure to increase security and reliability.  The report also states that the U.S. grid needs to change to accomodate the changing energy generation landscape, namely the growth of renewables and distributed generation.

Yesterday, the governors of the the New England states met for an “energy summit” to discuss upgrades to the region’s transmission infrastructure, and how to pay for them.  Although the states have differing priorities in many areas, the governors agreed on the need to invest in greater natural gas pipeline capacity.     

At a more global level, a thought-provoking essay in the economy section of the New York Times highlighted the vast gulf between energy use in the developed and developing parts of the world, and argued that greater economic development in poorer countries would actually reduce consumption of natural resources.  The argument is based on the recently released EcoModernist Manifesto, which states that “Intensifying many human activities — particularly farming, energy extraction, forestry, and settlement — so that they use less land and interfere less with the natural world is the key to decoupling human development from environmental impacts.”  It is a counterintuitive strategy calling for dense, centralized human activity (cities, industrial agrigulture, power plants) that makes efficient, if destructive, use of natural resources so that the rest of the planet can be kept in its natural state - away from humans.  

So, basically the opposite of the back to the land and locavore movements.    

Monday
Jun302014

USFWS Issues First BGEPA Eagle Take Permit

On Friday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Sevice issued its first eagle take permit under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

The permit was issued to the operational Shiloh IV wind power project in Northern California.  Over the five-year life of the permit the project is allowed five takes, which is the number of takes that FWS modeled to occur over that period of time.  The permit has a five-year duration.  The project decided not to amend its application to try to obtain a longer-term permit under the recently-adopted 30-year rule (which is currently being challenged in federal district court in Northern California).

Of note is that Shiloh IV is an operational project and that the NEPA alternatives analysis conducted by FWS states that the no action alternative is to not issue the requested take permit as opposed to not operate the wind turbines.  This creates different alternatives analyses for operational and proposed projects.  For an operational project such as Shiloh IV, FWS appears to be acknowledging project impacts as an existing baseline and the BGEPA take permit as a mechanism to extract mitigation measures (in this case retrofitting utility poles and conducting additional mortality monitoring).