Energy Legislation in the 2017 Colorado General Assembly

The First Regular Session of the Seventy-First General Assembly adjourned sine die on May 10th, wrapping up 120 days of work for the people of Colorado. The session was primarily dominated by two big issues: budget and transportation. After years of debate, legislators reached a compromise on the infamous hospital provider fee. By moving the …

Chevron Deference in Arizona?

In Arizona, like in Washington, a debate is unfolding about how courts should determine “questions of law”, and whether an agency’s construction of statutes is entitled to deference by the courts.  Some refer to this deference as Chevron Deference, stemming from a 1984 U.S. Supreme Court decision. The recent confirmation proceedings of Justice Neil Gorsuch triggered a spirited debate among policy makers and opinion writers about whether an agency’s reading of its statutes should be given any weight …

Appeals Court Throws-Out Utility Easement Damages Award – For Now

In responding to rumors of his own demise, Mark Twain quipped, “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”  While the 1897 rumors were premature, Mark Twain did eventually die on April 21, 1910.  In similar fashion, the 2015 jury verdict of more than $79 million for an electric utility’s misuse of electric transmission line …

Wind Reaches “High Water Mark”

A recent American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) report indicates that in 2015, wind surpassed hydroelectricity in U.S. installed capacity. The nation’s hydroelectric generating facilities had long been the largest source of renewable energy capacity. Thanks to the extension of the production tax credit (PTC) for wind generation resources through 2019 (with a gradual phase down …

New Merchant Transmission Line Approved in Arizona

At its February 7, 2017 Open Meeting, the Arizona Corporation Commission (“Commission”) approved a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility (“CEC”) for the Southline Transmission Project (“Project”).  Docket No. L-00000AAA-16-0370-000173.  The Commission adopted the CEC approved on December 22, 2016 by the Arizona Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting Committee (“Committee”). The Commission added a new condition …

Rocky Mountain Region One Step Closer to an RTO?

On January 6, 2017, following nearly four years of discussions, the entities comprising the Mountain West Transmission Group (MWTG) announced that they are exploring “potential participation with an existing regional transmission organization (RTO).”  As a first step toward possible membership in an RTO, MWTG members announced that they will have further, detailed discussions with the …

A Potential Shift in Focus for Arizona’s Renewable Energy Standard

Arizona’s Corporation Commission is considering the modernization and expansion of Arizona’s Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (Commission Docket No. E-00000Q-16-0289).  The current Chairman of the Commission, Doug Little, has suggested doubling the amount of power that Arizona utilities obtain from renewable sources from 15 percent to 30 percent by 2030.  On December 9, 2016, Commissioner …