FERC Market Pull Mechanisms for Marine Hydrokinetic and Other Small Renewables

Here’s a webinar on FERC market pull incentives for marine hydrokinetics and other small renewables.  It’s 50 minutes in length and you can access it at this link.  If you have any questions about the webinar or you’d like to contact me about a live workshop for your company or a copy of the slide deck, please email me at carolyn@carolynelefant.com

wind-turbineThe latest injection of financial support for offshore renewables is coming from an unlikely and overlooked source:  electric utility mergers.    In February 2012, the offshore wind industry reaped substantial benefits from two utility mergers.  In Maryland, the state’s offshore wind development fund will pick up $32 million courtesy of  Maryland Public Service Commission order issued in February 2012 approving a merger between Exelon and Constellation Energy that includes a commitment to fund offshore wind.   Meanwhile, just up the East Coast, Massachusetts extracted an agreement from NStar Utilities to sign a 15-year contract with Cape Wind to purchase27.5 percent of the project’s output as a condition of state approval for its acquisition of Northeast Utilities.  NStar’s purchase along with a previous purchase by National Grid means that 77 percent of Cape Wind’s capacity is spoken for, which should lay the groundwork for Cape Wind’s financing.

So how do offshore renewables come into play in merger proceedings?  Actually, on the federal level, offshore renewables aren’t all that relevant in merger approval proceedings at the SEC or  FERC.  Both of those agencies focus on largely financial issues such as anti-competitive impacts, economies and efficiencies and rates.

But the situation is different at the state level.  For starters, state utility commissions have more at stake when a local utility like BGE or Northeast Utilities is gobbled up by a behemoth company halfway across the country or even overseas.  These types of acquisitions can result in the departure of jobs and tax revenues, and diminish states’ regulatory control over the newly merged company.  For that reason, states will often play hardball  in merger proceedings to extract the best possible benefits from companies to offset potential losses and to mitigate adverse impacts. [click to continue…]

Corps of Engineers Issues Final Rule on Nationwide Permit for Small Water-based Renewables

May 16, 2012

On February 21, 2012, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a Nationwide Permit 52 for small water-based renewable energy products.  I’ve tracked this issue for a while; announcing the Corps’ intent to develop an NWP for water based renewables back in 2010, and in 2011, in my capacity as counsel to Ocean Renewable Energy [...]

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OREC Releases Roadmap for the MHK Industry in Flip-book Format

May 16, 2012

Interested in figuring out where the marine hydrokinetic industry is heading? Look no further than the Roadmap released last fall by the Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition (I drafted the sections dealing with regulatory policy).

The roadmap is available here, or if you prefer, you can view it in flip book fashion by scanning the [...]

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Green Tech Infographics

February 22, 2012

My name is Carolyn Elefant and I am an infographic-aholic. In other words, I’m addicted to charts and pictorials and graphics and other visual means of succinctly and colorfully captures the complex legal and regulatory concepts that I deal with on a day to day basis, then I’ve got to have it. So [...]

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FERC Grants Pilot License to Verdant Power!

February 22, 2012

I first posted about Verdant Power just a little more than seven years ago, when I reported on the company’s plans to place six tidal turbines in the East River. Eventually, Verdant Power did just that, and used its experience in real water conditions to further refine its technology. Subsequently, Verdant was [...]

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UK Releases Report on the Future of MHK

February 22, 2012

Just as they say that the grass isn’t any greener on the other side, so too, it appears, that the waters aren’t any bluer for MHK on the other side of the pond.  On February 7, 2012, the Energy & Climate Change Committee of the UK House of Commons released a this Report on the [...]

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Oceans of Wave Energy Innovation

February 22, 2012

One of the most exciting aspects of practicing law in the marine and hydrokinetic space is that I have a birds-eye view of innovation-in-action.  And while I sometimes think that it might be nice to work in a more mature industry like wind, where the three-blade turbine design is set or stone (or more accurately, [...]

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Law Review Round Up

February 22, 2012

Obscure, complex, duplicative and uncertain.  While those adjectives don’t make for good law or regulation, they’re the stuff that law review articles are made of.  Perhaps that explains why in the decade since my original (and now, grossly outdated) journal article, Ocean Energy in the 1990s, dozens of other papers and articles have emerged summarizing [...]

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Supreme Court To Hear OCS Case With Impacts for the Offshore Renewables Industry

October 3, 2011

It’s not often that the United States Supreme Court hears a case with consequences for the offshore wind and marine hydrokinetic industry. The last time I mentioned a Supreme Court case was back in April 2008, where I posted about Delaware v. New Jersey. There, the Court interceded to resolve a dispute over [...]

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