Record Low Prices: Alberta Releases Results of Round 1 of the Renewable Electricity Program By Kimberly J. Howard On December 13, 2017, the Government of Alberta announced the results of Round 1 of the Renewable Energy Program (REP).  The successful bids set a record for the lowest renewable electricity pricing in Canada, ranging from $30.90 to $43.30 per MWh with a weighted average price for the successful bids of $37 per MWh or 3.7 cents per kWh. View Full Post
Last October, the European Commission published its Work Programme for 2018. In the environmental area, a prominent topic is the EU initiative with respect to a ‘circular economy.’ This concept involves a transition to a “stronger and more circular economy where resources are used in a more sustainable way.” The idea is to  “close the loop” of product lifecycles through greater recycling and re-use, so as to realize benefits for both the environment and the economy. View Full Post
On November 16, 2017, twelve New England electricity consumers (“Plaintiffs”) filed a class action lawsuit in in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts against two large New England energy companies, Eversource Energy (“Eversource”) and Avangrid, Inc. (“Avangrid”), arguing that they raised power prices by artificially constraining capacity on the Algonquin Gas Transmission Pipeline (“Algonquin”).  View Full Post
On December 7, 2017, Kevin McIntyre was sworn in as FERC Chairman.  The addition of Chairman McIntyre now completes a full, five-member Commission.  On the same day, Chairman McIntyre requested a 30-day extension of the deadline for FERC to act on Department of Energy (“DOE”) Secretary Rick Perry’s proposed rulemaking concerning grid resiliency pricing. View Full Post
Pressing On: B.C. Government Announces Decision to Complete Construction of Site C Clean Energy Project By Sven Milelli, Selina Lee-Andersen and Morgan Troke On December 11, 2017, the B.C. government announced its decision to complete construction of BC Hydro’s 1,100-megawatt Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C), concluding that cancelling the project mid-construction would have imposed a $4 billion burden on provincial taxpayers, comprising $2.1 billion already spent and an estimated $1.8 billion in termination and site remediation costs. View Full Post
On December 6, 2017, FERC denied requests for rehearing of its prior order (“February Order”) authorizing Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company (“Transco”) to build and operate its Atlantic Sunrise Project.  A variety of protestors raised several claims in their requests for rehearing, including that the assessment of the public purpose and need of the project was incorrect and that the analysis regarding the project’s effect on climate change was inadequate.  View Full Post
  On December 5, 2017, FERC approved a trio of proposed revisions to the Open Access Transmission, Energy, and Operating Reserve Markets Tariff (“Tariff”) of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”). These revisions all pertained to MISO’s Competitive Developer Selection Process, memorialized in Tariff Attachment FF, which sets out the process for identifying certain transmission facilities within a regional transmission project as well as qualified developers to construct the facilities. View Full Post
As reported in The Nickel Report, on Thursday, the Senate confirmed Susan Parker Bodine as the Assistant Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (“OECA”). OECA, the chief enforcement arm of EPA, coordinates the agency’s enforcement of numerous federal environmental laws within its authority. View Full Post
On December 11, 2017, the NY Times’ headline read: Under Trump, E.P.A. Has Slowed Actions Against Polluters, and Put Limits on Enforcement Officers.  The article reviews EPA enforcement during the first nine months of the Trump Administration.  The writers cite not only statistical comparisons with the first year of the Bush and Obama EPAs, but also quote an internal enforcement memorandum, interviews with current and former EPA staff, and residents at a facility under investigation in Ohio. View Full Post
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the “Interior Department’s and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s permitting processes for energy and resource infrastructure projects and opportunities to improve the efficiency, transparency, and accountability of federal decisions for such projects.” Date: Tuesday, Dec. View Full Post