PURPA 101
March 12-13, 2018
Portland, OR

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Overview

Because of the inability of independent power producers to sell their efficient and clean electricity into monopoly-controlled markets, Congress in 1978 enacted the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). PURPA encouraged the development of alternative power, including renewable energy and cogeneration, by requiring utilities to purchase energy and capacity from qualifying facilities (QFs) at their incremental, or avoided costs. Navigating PURPA and the resulting contractual negotiations between utilities and Qualifying Facilities (QFs) is a long-standing yet increasingly contentious subject for utilities and independent power producers (IPPs) in many parts of the country.

PURPA has never been more relevant than now with many states making ad hoc changes to how the law is applied. What happens with decisions in one part of the U.S. could impact utilities all around the country. This course will provide attendees with historical context and the legal framework of PURPA, an overview of different avoided cost methodologies and non-discrimination toward QF’s. Join us for this PURPA event where you’ll have the opportunity for high quality networking with industry peers and gain valuable information.

Learning Outcomes

  • Discuss the original intent and history of PURPA
  • Discuss cooperative federalism and jurisdiction in detail
  • Explain the legal framework as it pertains to avoided costs
  • Evaluate methodologies used in different states to set avoided cost rates
  • Discuss financing projects to ensure nondiscrimination towards qualified facilities
  • Explain how to gain access to competitive markets

Credits

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EUCI has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).  In obtaining this accreditation, EUCI has demonstrated that it  complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is recognized internationally as a standard of good practice. As a result of their Authorized Provider status, EUCI is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 1.0 CEUs for this event.

 

Requirements for Successful Completion of Program

Participants must sign in/out each day and be in attendance for the entirety of the course to be eligible for continuing education credit.

Instructional Methods

This program will include PowerPoint presentations and interactive discussions

Agenda

Monday, March 12, 2018

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. :: Course Timing

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. :: Group Luncheon

I. History & Legal Framework

PURPA was passed during the energy crises that ripped through industrial world economies. Congress reacted to the energy crisis by implementing PURPA to reduce dependence on foreign oil, to promote alternative energy sources and energy efficiency, and to diversify the electric power industry. PURPA’s intent was to address the energy crisis of that time by encouraging the more efficient generation of electricity through “a better integration of QF [qualifying facility] supplies with traditional utility supplies.”

This session will set the participatory discussion tone for the course. The following topic areas will be the primary focus of this session:

  • Original intent & historical context
    • The components of PURPA
    • Encourage conservation and small generation facilities
    • Achieve a level playing field with QF sales
    • State implementation under FERC guidelines
  • Cooperative federalism & jurisdiction
    • The rise and fall of dual federalism in energy law
    • Defining, and defending, concurrent jurisdiction
    • Protecting state interests
    • The erosion of judicial safeguards

Nikolas Stoffel, Associate, Holland & Hart

Robert Mudge, Principal, Brattle Group

Peter Richardson, Principal, Richardson Adams, PLLC.


II. Avoided Cost Rates

From the late 1970s through even the past few years, solar and wind energy were so expensive that no utility had to worry about them matching or besting their avoided cost. But circumstances have changed dramatically, thanks to precipitous declines in the cost of renewables. In many states, contracted solar prices have fallen below 5 cents per kilowatt-hour as a result, PURPA has become a significant driver in the development of utility-scale solar projects. Proxy resources, peaking plants, and production costs models represent very different ways to calculate avoided cost. 

This session will provide a framework and overview of methodologies used to set avoided cost rates, to answer the ultimate question of what costs QFs enable utilities to avoid. 

  • Definitions
    • What is avoided cost
    • Net metering
    • Renewable energy
    • Distributed generation
    • Retail service
  • Frameworks
    • Establishing the framework
    • Original provisions for avoided cost
    • Legal framework
    • Treating energy and capacity
    • Ratemaking standards and policies
  • Methodologies
    • Proxy unit
    • Peaker unit
    • Differential revenue requirement
    • Market based pricing
    • Competitive bidding

Jason Brown, Attorney, Montana Consumer Counsel

Robert Mudge, Principal, Brattle Group

Gregory Adams, principal, Richardson Adams, PLLC.

 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Continental Breakfast

8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: Course Timing

III. Consumer Indifference v. Non-Discrimination

Under PURPA, electric utilities are required to purchase energy offered by QFs at rates that are just and reasonable to consumers and reflect no greater than the incremental cost that the utility would have otherwise incurred to generate or purchase the power. PURPA rests on two pillars, nondiscrimination towards qualifying facilities (QFs), and consumer indifference meaning that ratepayers are indifferent as to whether the utility used more traditional sources of power or newly encouraged renewable alternatives.

This concluding session of the course will address consumers and how developers and investors can look to diversify. In this session, the following topics will be explored:

  • Comparing risks
    • Ratepayer risks
    • Utility risks
    • Developer risks
  • Financing projects
    • Contract length to secure financing
    • Revised PURPA rules
    • State tax credits
  • Access to competitive markets
    • Providing non-discriminatory access to the grid
    • Contract length and capacity values
    • State decisions
    • Legally enforceable obligations

Terri K. Eaton, Director, Federal Regulatory Affairs, Xcel Energy

Jason Brown, Attorney, Montana Consumer Counsel

Nikolas Stoffel, Associate, Holland & Hart

Peter Richardson, Principal, Richardson Adams, PLLC.

Instructors

Jason Brown, Attorney, Montana Consumer Counsel

Mr. Brown is an attorney for the Montana Consumer Counsel in Helena, where he advocates for the interests of the consuming public in administrative and judicial proceedings, including in PURPA matters. Prior to joining the Montana Consumer Counsel, Mr. Brown was an attorney for the Montana Public Service Commission for more than six years, where he advised five elected commissioners, drafted administrative orders, and represented the agency before courts and the legislature. In 2009, he served as the Law Clerk for the 20th Judicial District Court in Lake and Sanders Counties. He earned law and master’s degrees from the University of Montana and his bachelor’s degree from Tufts University. 

 

Peter Richardson, Principal, Richardson Adams, PLLC. 

Mr. Richardson’s practice focuses in the areas of energy law including the representation of industrial consumers of investor-owned electric utilities as well as representation of consumer and municipal electric utilities.  Mr. Richardson has assisted developers of independent power projects in obtaining power sales agreements and financing.  His clients include trade associations of large industrial customers and consumer owned electric utilities as well as independent power producers.  Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Richardson served for four years as staff counsel to the Idaho Public Utilities Commission.

Mr. Richardson has appeared before almost every state regulatory commission in the intermountain west as well as the Idaho Supreme Court the U.S. District Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on energy related issues.  He has also appeared before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and has practiced extensively before the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bonneville Power Administration. He is a cum laude graduate of the University of San Francisco School of Law and received his B.A. from Boise State University.  He is admitted to the bars of the State of Idaho, the Federal District for the District of Idaho and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  He is a member of the Federal Energy Bar Association and the American Bar Association and has been awarded a “AV” rating by Martindale-Hubble. 

 

Gregory Adams, Principal, Richardson Adams, PLLC.

Mr. Adams’ law practice focuses on energy regulatory, transactional, and litigation matters, as well as natural resource and environmental law matters. In his energy law practice, Mr. Adams regularly represents renewable energy and cogeneration developers in securing power purchase agreements, interconnection agreements, transmission wheeling agreements, and completing related regulatory compliance filings. He also represents independent power producers and PURPA qualifying facilities in policy-setting and complaint proceedings before state public utility commissions and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Additionally, Mr. Adams has extensive experience with direct retail access, and has represented suppliers of direct retail electric access in regulatory proceedings setting stranded cost charges and related terms and conditions of direct retail access to alternative suppliers. Mr. Adams also regularly represents large power users in retail rate-setting proceedings before state public utility commissions, as well as in related transactional matters. He obtained his J.D. (cum laude) with a Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resource Law from Lewis and Clark Law School and his B.A. in Biology and Coordinate Major in Environmental Studies with a minor in Economics from Bowdoin College.

 

Nikolas Stoffel, Associate, Holland & Hart

As an expert in public utility regulation, Mr. Stoffel provides his clients with practical, business-minded solutions to a variety of legal issues. His practice is focused on the federal and state regulation of utilities, pipelines, and electricity markets, and the nuances of administrative law and litigation. Mr. Soffel’s clients include large energy consumers, industrial and commercial electric customers, local distribution companies, oil and gas pipelines, water utilities, qualifying facilities, renewable energy developers, independent power producers, and telecommunication and cable companies throughout the Mountain West. He has also represented investors and asset managers regarding the purchase and sale of utilities.

Mr. Stoffel has appeared before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, Montana Public Service Commission, and Wyoming Public Service Commission. This representation has covered a range of issues, including: Avoided cost and qualifying facility proceedings, Gas and electric rate cases and Tariff disputes. He earned his B.S. in Finance from the University of Denver, Daniels College of Business and his J.D. with Dean’s Honors from Washburn University School of Law

 

Robert Mudge, Principal, Brattle Group

Mr. Mudge is an expert in corporate and project finance matters in the energy industry. He has advised energy clients on issues relating to corporate restructuring, contract terminations or amendments, special capital needs, and acquisitions and divestitures. He also has experience in analyzing contractual, regulatory, financing, and tax matters, and projecting effects on cash flows, earnings, and customer rates.

Mr. Mudge served as Brattle’s COO and Treasurer from 2014 to March 2017. Prior to joining the firm, he was a principal at CRA International, where he focused on financial restructuring initiatives for electric utility clients and consulted on matters involving rate design, asset valuation, and project finance structuring and credit requirements. He has provided expert testimony in proceedings before federal and state courts, utility regulators in the U.S. and Canada, and state environmental regulators, as well as in connection with mediation and arbitration proceedings.

 

Terri K. Eaton, Director, Federal Regulatory Affairs, Xcel Energy

Ms. Eaton has been the Director of Federal Regulatory Affairs with Xcel Energy for the past nine years. In her role, she manages regulatory and compliance issues involving the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). Ms. Austin graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BS in Petroleum Engineering and earned her JD from the University of Texas School of Law.

Location

Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland Washington Square
9000 SW Washington Square Road
Tigard, OR 97223

To reserve your room, please call 1-800-757-4608 or book online here.
Please  use group code XEU or Conference Name: Electric Utility Consultants to receive the EUCI group rate.

Room Rate:

The room rate is $149.00 single or double plus applicable taxes.

Room Block Dates:

A room block has been reserved for the nights of March 11-12, 2018.

Rate Available Until:

Make your reservations prior to February 19, 2018. There are a limited number of rooms available at the conference rate. Please make your reservations early.

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