OPUC Declines Jurisdiction over QF PPAs

On June 25, 2021, the Oregon Public Utility Commission (the Oregon Commission) dismissed the case brought against NewSun Energy (NewSun) by Portland General Electric (PGE) that sought to terminate the power purchase agreements (PPAs) of select qualified facilities (QFs). The primary dispute was over the timeline of the QFs to come online and be commercially viable. NewSun argued there was force majeure, or, unforeseeable and unpreventable circumstances which prevented the facilities from achieving their commercial operation dates. The Commission agreed concluded that case should be adjudicated in court and dismissed the case, without prejudice.  [Read more…]

FERC Finds Utah QF Established LEO Prior to Utility’s PURPA Waiver Filing

On April 15, 2021, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order finding that a qualifying facility (QF) called Kanab Solar had established a legally enforceable obligation (LEO) to sell power to Garkane Energy Cooperative (Garkane) prior to the date that Garkane and its generation and transmission cooperative, Deseret Power, had petitioned FERC for waivers to some of their obligations under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). FERC granted the waivers. However, FERC also determined that Kanab Solar established a LEO before the petitions were filed. This means that the waivers do not affect Kanab Solar’s pre-existing right to choose to sell to Garkane rather than to Deseret Power.  [Read more…]

Idaho Commission Determines that QFs Cannot Establish a LEO Unless the Utility Delays Contract Execution

In April 2021, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (the Commission) affirmed its December 2020 order that qualifying facilities (QF) under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) can only establish a Legally Enforceable Obligation (LEO) by filing a meritorious complaint against the purchasing utility before the utility’s rates change. This order means that QFs interested in selling to Idaho utilities can only lock in contract pricing by obtaining a fully executed contract before rates change or by demonstrating that a utility delayed contract execution.  [Read more…]

Oregon Court of Appeals Dismisses Utility Appeal regarding PURPA Fixed Price Payments

In December 2020, the Oregon Court of Appeals dismissed Portland General Electric Company’s (PGE’s) appeal of the Oregon Public Utility Commission’s (Oregon Commission’s) decision in Docket No. UM 1805 regarding contract term requirements under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). The Court’s decision capped a series of decisions affirming a long-standing Oregon Commission policy where qualifying facilities (QFs) eligible for standard contracts receive 15 years of fixed price payments.    [Read more…]

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…]