IRS Issues Favorable PLR Allowing an Individual Panel Owner in an Offsite, Net-Metered Community-Shared Solar Project to Claim the Section 25D Tax Credit

The Internal Revenue Service has issued a private letter ruling to an individual owner of solar panels installed in an offsite net-metered community-shared solar project confirming the individual’s eligibility for the income tax credit under Section 25D of the Internal Revenue Code. A redacted copy of the PLR is available here. (As of the date of this publication, the IRS has not provided its release number for the PLR.) This PLR provides significant insight into the IRS view on the application of Section 25D to community-shared solar projects. Foley Hoag attorneys Nicola Lemay and More

San Diego Gas & Electric Company Proposes Paying Customers to Install Customer-Owned Energy Storage Resources

Changes Ahead , Road Warning Sign , 3d renderOne key challenge to tapping the full potential of energy storage systems to improve the function of the electric grid is the absence of obvious paths for the owner of storage resources to realize the revenue opportunities associated with all of the various services that such a resource could provide.  Energy storage resources can frequently provide multiple services – often crossing lines between categories of traditional resources that are compensated under different regulatory schemes.  Behind the meter, storage can change consumption patterns to… More

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker Releases Solar Net Metering Bill

One week after the Massachusetts legislature departed for its summer recess, Governor Charlie Baker today released net metering legislation to rival the Massachusetts Senate’s recent bill.

Where the Senate bill would have simply raised the net metering cap to 1600 MWs and largely retained the current net metering credit calculations, the Governor’s bill would increase the metering cap but would substantially reduce the calculation of net metering credits. In some instances, the value of net metering credits could potentially be more than halved.

Big Picture:

Many of the features of this… More

Massachusetts DPU Extends Time for Electric Distribution Companies to File Grid Modernization Plans

Readers expecting the Massachusetts electric distribution companies to file their Grid Modernization Plans yesterday will have to wait another two weeks.  On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities granted a last minute extension, making the GMP filings due on August 19th.  In their request for the extension, the electric distribution companies noted that the “requirement to develop comprehensive, forward-looking GMPs was the first of its kind” and that the GMPs “encompass sophisticated and complex technological investment portfolios, along with proposals for the introduction of time varying rates.”  The GMP process certainly provides the electric distribution companies with an… More

DOE Releases Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Northern Pass Project

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Northern Pass Transmission, LLC’s proposed 187-mile transmission line across the United States-Canada border in New Hampshire.

If approved, the line would have the ability to deliver 1200 MW of hydroelectric power from Quebec into southern New England—a potentially tantalizing amount of power for policymakers seeking to diversify the region’s generation portfolio and lower its GHG emissions. At the same time, it may have unintended consequences such as causing existing zero-emission nuclear facilities to retire prematurely as market-clearing prices in the… More

Massachusetts’ Summer of Storage

HiResCalifornia has been a national leader in promoting policies to support the deployment of energy storage resources.  The California Public Utility Commission’s directive that California utilities procure 1,325 MW of energy storage through biennial procurements has spurred significant excitement and economic activity as have capacity procurements that required a portion of need to be met with energy storage.  (The California Roadmap, prepared by the California Independent System Operator, the California Public Utilities Commission, and the California Energy Commission in December, provides an outline of both California’s efforts to date and… More

The Baker Administration looks to Hydropower to meet GHG goals

Massachusetts State Capitol, Boston

The Baker Administration announced on July 9 that it filed a bill for sourcing long-term hydroelectric power in the Commonwealth.  Hydroelectric power currently provides a small portion of electricity consumed  in Massachusetts. According to the Energy Information Administration, it ranks behind natural-gas, nuclear, coal and other renewable energy sources.

The bill, titled “An Act Relative to energy sector compliance with the Global Warming Solutions Act,” would require the State’s electric distribution companies  to solicit proposals for hydroelectric contracts spanning 15 to 25 years.  Such solicitations… More

The Third Installment of Our Paris Climate Change Negotiations Tracker

The third installment of our Paris climate change negotiations tracker is available.  This may sound like a broken record, but there was not a lot of progress made in the Bonn talks earlier this month and it’s looking more and more as though it’s going to be difficult to reach a major substantive agreement in Paris.

 

 

 

Massachusetts Attorney General to Undertake Natural Gas Study

Massachusetts Attorney General Healey announced that her office will lead a study to identify and evaluate options to address regional electric reliability needs in New England through 2030. As the Massachusetts ratepayer advocate, the AG’s Office has traditionally challenged the efforts of Massachusetts utilities to raise electric and gas rates before the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The announcement that her office will conduct a study that focuses on regional energy needs once again signals her interest to consider the effects of climate change as part of her role as ratepayer advocate and that her office intends to play a significant role in the region’s energy policy debates.

The study will be completed in October 2015, will be conducted by the Analysis Group and is being supported by the Barr Foundation. Raab Associates will be responsible for facilitating an Advisory Group that will advise the AGO and the Analysis Group on the study. While the study will include an evaluation of all potentially available energy resource options to meet reliability needs, a key focus of the study will be the question of whether more natural gas is needed in the region, and if so, how much more capacity is needed.

The announcement of the study comes at the same time that the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has opened an investigation to consider whether electric utilities subsidized by ratepayers should be allowed to purchase natural gas capacity in order to encourage additional natural gas pipelines in the region. The investigation was requested by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources. Through its filings, the AG’s Office has questioned where the DPU has the authority to approve electric utility purchase of natural gas capacity and whether there is a need for additional natural gas pipelines in the region. The AG’s Office requested that the DPU postpone issuance of a decision in the investigation until after the study is completed.

The Second Installment of our Paris Climate Change Negotiations Tracker

As the date for the Paris climate talks moves closer, we have our second installment of our climate negotiations tracker.  This episode discusses the concept of “dynamism” – being able to adjust over time just how ambitious the mitigation goals will be; the mechanism for assessing the Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs; the role of non-state actors; and how to differentiate among developed and developing countries.

There’s still a lot to do if Paris is going to be a success.