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Changing Public Utility Models to Address Climate Change Concerns

(547 reviews)

Produced on July 18, 2017

Taught by
$ 89 Environmental, Oil, Gas, & Energy, and Administrative In Stock
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Course Information

Time 1h 3m
Difficulty Intermediate

Course Description

Since the start of the deregulation era under President Carter, few industries have been spared the upheavals that have been changing regulatory models at the federal and state level. The electric utility business model, under which regulated utilities were granted a competition free environment and a guaranteed return on investment in return for providing safe, reliable power to all users, has been undergoing change for almost forty years. Despite the significant harms incurred by California’s prior deregulation efforts, the pace of utility deregulation has increased in recent years, as states take the lead in addressing climate change concerns, and resiliency of the electric grid takes on increased importance in light of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and similar events.

In this course we will examine the changes undergoing the historic utility model as states seek creation of decentralized electric systems, using market-based approaches to reach renewable energy goals, such as New York and California’s goal of reaching fifty percent electric generation from renewables by 2030. We will examine various programs states are using, such as Minnesota’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, Connecticut’s Green Bank and New York’s Clean Energy Standard to increase renewable resources and reduce fossil fuel consumption, while adapting the role utilities play in providing a safe and reliable electric grid.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the basics of the historic utility business model as developed under the Public Utilities Holding Company Act, and the pressures that have led states to seek a better approach
  2. Identify the federal-state relationship in electric utility regulation, and the current issues in defining the boundaries of state and federal regulatory authority
  3. Review the current efforts to reform the model, particularly the New York Reforming the Energy Vision program, and similar state programs
  4. Examine the efforts to create a “prosumer” approach to energy consumption, and the methods states are using to incentivize growth of distributed energy resources

Credit Information

After completing this course, Lawline will report your attendance information to {{ accredMasterState.state.name }}. Please ensure your license number is filled out in your profile to ensure timely reporting. For more information, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements page . After completing this course, {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} attorneys self-report their attendance and CLE compliance. For more information on how to report your CLE courses, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements FAQ .


Daniel A. Spitzer

Hodgson Russ LLP

Dan concentrates his practice on issues involving environmental law, renewable energy, sustainable development, land use law, municipal law, and real estate development. His practice involves numerous renewable energy projects, including representing municipalities, developers, land owners, and financing entities. His work, from project inception through successful litigation, includes some of the largest wind farms in the eastern United States; multiple utility and small­-scale solar projects; and landfill, gas­-to­-energy, biomass, storage, and energy efficiency projects. He successfully litigated a case of first impression concerning a municipality's right to regulate power­-generating facilities based on greenhouse gas emissions.

A primary part of Dan’s work focuses on National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) review and compliance with federal and state environmental statutes. His work includes environmental assessments for large-­scale telecommunications projects and power generation projects. He counsels agencies and private clients on compliance with historic preservation laws, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and other federal environmental statutes and regulations. His projects include coordinating responses among federal and state agencies as part of federal and state environmental assessments.

Dan’s general municipal practice involves a wide area of services. He regularly counsels municipal clients on budgeting, leasing, environmental, zoning, assessment, financial, eminent domain, and other matters. His litigation experience includes tax assessment matters, land use issues, financial matters, and other issues before administrative and judicial forums. He assists developers and communities in development projects, including obtaining financial assistance and complying with historic preservation guidelines. Dan has successfully represented clients in local governmental and judicial forums, including cases involving zoning and development decisions. He has drafted laws for municipalities on issues ranging from enforcing zoning codes to green buildings to regulations under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He is well versed in the requirements of the State Environmental Quality Review Act and has guided many communities through the environmental review process.

Dan’s practice also includes work in areas concerning the valuation of property. He represents property owners and municipalities in condemnation proceedings and tax assessment challenges, from the initial filing of claims through trial. His clients include municipal redevelopment agencies, developers, and taxpayers throughout New York State.

Dan brings a strong background in municipal affairs to his practice from an earlier era in his career, when he served as finance director for a sizeable city in Arizona.


Alison C.

Very interesting program.

Lynne L.

instructor talked very quickly, but did get through the material! Would be helpful to get the date of each lecture.

Malvina M.

Very informative!

Michael H.

Excellent course!! Mr. Spitzer did a great job with it. Great command of the subject. Hope you can get him to do more courses for Lawline.

Jean P.

Absolutely STELLAR program. I learned a ton about a really fascinating area. Mr. Spitzer was great at hitting all of the really salient points in this area and conveying quite complicated/technical information in a really clear and engaging way. Kudos!

Lisa C.

Loved the way this gentleman presents! Engaging. Super knowledgeable. Explains complicated concepts in understandable ways.

Jeff R.

Great presentation. Thank you. Ilook forward to an update that focuses entirely on today and tomorrow (the past portion need not be repeated).

Daniel O.

Great presentation of important subject.

Karl M.

Very useful and contextual summary of an enormous body of law and policy -- well done

Cody D.

Extremely relevant to current practice

John A. M.

Excellent overview by a highly knowledgeable practitioner. Extremely comprehensive slides as well.

Jamey B.

Great information.

Harrison S.

Thought provoking and well qualified!

Victoria L. B.

Great presentation and information.

Robert J.

Wow. Fascinating and important area I knew nothing about. Great presenter as well. Obviously incredibly knowledgeable. Thank you!

Michele K.

Very informative. Thank you

Al W.

Interesting presentation.

Joseph L.

good program

Philip R.

Very current and informative program on the evolution of the electric utility industry

Jon G.

excellent speaker

Steven O.

Very thought-provoking!

Deborah K.

I found this very helpful, as Florida and local governments are struggling with workable models for grid replenishment with the addition of the increased interest and usage of solar energy.

Mario L.

great speaker

John B.

I REALLY enjoyed this course. I especially liked the important historical background behind the regulatory development of the Utility Industry. It is key to understand this background since the past serves as prologue: future regulatory dilemmas will have novel elements, but they will contain many elements from past problems and solutions. Bravo!

Nicole F.

The speaker was very knowledgeable on subject matter including effects outside the contents of the subject.

Sue W.

Presenter was obviously extremely well informed on topic.

Douglas B.

Extremely informative.

Marvin C.

Good lecture and written materials on a little-appreciated trend behind the scenes that will have a large impact on society, particularly if increased terrorism activities focus on this sector.

Mattie A.


James S.

Very good course.

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