The Montana Supreme Court Rules Against the Montana Commission’s Approval of Shorter Contract Terms and Lower Avoided Cost Prices

On August 24, 2020, the Montana Supreme Court ruled against the Montana Public Service Commission’s (Montana Commission) actions to reduce avoided cost rates and shorten contract terms for power purchase agreements between the utilities and solar Qualifying Facilities (QFs). The ruling is a victory for renewable energy developers and advocates, as it upheld an integral piece of the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act of 1978’s (PURPA) that encourages QF development. [Read more…]

Wyoming Commission Reduces PURPA Contract Terms and Changes PacifiCorp’s Avoided Cost Pricing Method

On June 23, 2020, the Wyoming Public Service Commission (Wyoming Commission) partially granted a request from PacifiCorp, dba Rocky Mount Power, for authority to modify its Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) contracts with qualifying facilities (QFs). Within the same proceeding, the Wyoming Commission approved PacifiCorp’s other proposed changes to its avoided cost pricing methodology.  [Read more…]

Ninth Circuit Reaffirms PURPA’s Must-Purchase and Fixed Contract Price Requirements

On July 29, 2019, the Ninth Circuit released an opinion in Winding Creek Solar, LLC v. California Public Utility Commission (California Commission or CPUC), finding that the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (“PURPA”) preempted the CPUC’s “Renewable Market Adjusting Tariff” (Re-Mat) and “Standard Offer Contract” programs. Under PURPA, utilities are required to purchase any energy and capacity made available from a qualifying facility (QF) at the utility’s avoided cost, and the QF has the option to have the price it is paid for that energy and capacity determined either at the time of contracting or at the time of delivery. [Read more…]

Montana District Court Reverses Public Service Commission on PURPA

On June 18, 2019, a Montana State District Court reversed the Montana Public Service Commission (Commission or MPSC), finding that MTSUN, a qualifying facility under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), was entitled to a 25-year contract to sell its energy and capacity to NorthWestern Energy. The case was heard before the same Judge that decided the QF-1 docket on April 2, 2019 and to a large degree the decision is the same.  [Read more…]

Ninth Circuit Rejects PURPA Implementation Claim as Moot in Unpublished Opinion

On June 3, 2019, the Ninth Circuit issued an unpublished Decision Memorandum in Bear Gulch, LLC et. al. v. Montana Public Service Commission, in which it found that the federal district court erred by not finding that certain arguments related to Montana’s generally applicable legally enforceable obligation (LEO) standard was moot. The Ninth Circuit found that the arguments raised by Bear Gulch Solar, LLC and other qualifying facilities developed by Cypress Creek Renewables (QFs) were mooted because the Montana Commission subsequently enacted a new LEO rule.  [Read more…]