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Ninth Circuit Rejects PURPA Implementation Claim as Moot in Unpublished Opinion

On June 3, 2019, the Ninth Circuit issued an unpublished Decision Memorandum in Bear Gulch, LLC et.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…]

Ninth Circuit Rules in Favor of Renewable QFs

On April 24, 2019, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Ninth Circuit) issued an opinion regarding the California Public Utilities Commission’s (“California Commission”) failure to properly implement the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). Specifically, the Ninth Circuit held that the avoided cost price paid to a qualifying facility (QF) cannot be based on energy sources that do not meet California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), if the state has an RPS and the utility is using the QF’s energy to meet the RPS.  [Read more…]

Montana District Court Finds that Public Service Commission Acted Arbitrarily and Unreasonably

On April 3, 2019, a Montana District Court Judge, Judge Manley, issued an order reversing the Montana Public Service Commission’s (“Montana Commission”) orders 7500c and 7500d that cut Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (“PURPA”) standard avoided cost prices and contract lengths for qualifying facilities (“QFs”) offered by Montana utility NorthWestern Energy (“NorthWestern”).  [Read more…]