An Overview of Regulatory Issues Associated with Renewable Energy Facilities

Produced on: April 24, 2018

Course Format On Demand Audio

Taught by

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Course Description

Time 63 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

When it comes to developing renewable energy projects, such as solar facilities, wind farms, offshore wind facilities, cogeneration plants or other kinds of renewable energy facilities, states and federal energy regulators are increasingly challenging each other’s traditional understanding of the balance of power between the federal government and states. Furthermore, in an era of increasing federal deference to the states, developers are increasingly counting on state incentives to promote renewable energy projects. Hanging in the balance are traditional federal and state statutes that delineate the distinction between federal jurisdiction and state jurisdiction, as interpreted by recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

Renewable energy project developers and their financiers are finding new legal frameworks that are helping to clarify a renewed spirit of cooperative federalism across the U.S., especially in organized competitive wholesale power markets. The recent Supreme Court decisions are helping to clarify the applicability of the Federal Power Act’s balance of powers to emerging clean energy demand response technologies, including the roles of demand response, energy efficiency and net metering policies across state lines.

 This course, presented by Stephen J. Humes of Holland & Knight’s New York City Office, presents an overview of the regulatory issues arising in the development of renewable energy projects and the roles of FERC and the states in establishing rules and promoting project incentives to meet clean energy standards.


Learning Objectives:

  1. Comprehend the statutory federalism vs. states’ rights framework associated with renewable energy facilities
  2. Examine the trio of recent U.S. Supreme Court Cases interpreting the role of cooperative federalism in energy projects
  3. Identify the federalism issues embedded in renewable energy project development
  4. Provide practice guidance to reduce legal risk and avoid surprises in renewable energy project deal structuring

Faculty

Stephen J. Humes

Holland & Knight LLP

Stephen J. Humes is a partner in Holland & Knight's New York office and practices environmental, energy, public utility and infrastructure law. He has substantial experience advising clients on renewable energy project finance and development, especially grid scale and net metered solar photovoltaics. For decades, he has advised clients on energy regulatory and environmental issues, including those associated with conventional and renewable power plant development, cogeneration, liquefied natural gas and pipeline facilities, geothermal and other utility facility siting matters. His energy-related environmental experience includes advising on environmental justice and climate change issues. Mr. Humes guides clients through state and federal administrative proceedings, including advancing rate cases in administrative litigation and defending clients in enforcement actions. He also counsels clients on a full range of state and federal environmental compliance and enforcement matters and handles energy and environmental issues effectively in corporate M&A transactions, including acquisitions and divestitures of power plants.

 

At a time of steadily increasing public and private support for investments in renewable and sustainable energy projects as a response to global climate change, Mr. Humes is a key member of the firm's Green Bank Financing Practice and International Energy Project Finance Team, supporting investments in North America and beyond. State sponsored green banks are growing rapidly to offer government assistance in stimulating private capital investments in clean energy and Mr. Humes provides energy regulatory and transactional advice in support of such transactions. Typical clean energy project finance transactions that Mr. Humes supports include solar PV from utility scale to residential, wind farms, geothermal projects in the Caribbean and Latin America, and distributed thermal energy storage projects that offset peak day electric demand. Mr. Humes has supported projects financed by major state green banks, International Finance Corporation, private equity providers and tax equity investors.

 

Mr. Humes represents independent power producers, exempt wholesale generators, PURPA- qualifying facility owners, retail electric suppliers, and electric and gas utility companies in transactions and administrative regulatory proceedings before such agencies as the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, Connecticut Siting Council, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, New York State Public Service Commission, ISO New England, New England Power Pool and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He has also advised competitive energy companies and the companies that finance them throughout the New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions.

 

Mr. Humes advises property owner and developer clients regularly on alternative energy facility development, including obtaining regulatory approvals, interconnection and other siting issues for solar PV, wind, bio fuels, geothermal, biomass and cogeneration. He frequently negotiates power purchase agreements, EPC agreements, and other financing and transactional documents in support of renewable energy project finance and development.

 

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