PURPA Litigation and Qualifying Facilities (QF) Symposium
November 16-17, 2017
Denver, CO

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Overview

Navigating the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (“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 requires electric utilities to purchase power from QFs so long as the cost does not exceed the cost of alternative sources of power. Originally intended to encourage greater energy independence at a time when the U.S. used petroleum to generate more than 16 percent of the nation’s electricity, PUPRA’s mandates continues to challenge regulators in an era when petroleum for power generation is down to 1 percent.

Although PURPA has helped foster the development of independent generation and become a notable example of cooperative federalism, its drafters did not anticipate today’s tremendous growth and lower cost of small-scale, renewable generation. As a result, some utilities are forced to acquire a high percentage of their load under long-term, overpriced contracts from IPPs. In North Carolina, more than 90 percent of the state’s large-scale solar projects were facilitated by PURPA. In Montana, FERC rejected competitive bidding and interconnection requirements, Maine bid to the federal government to have DERs considered QFs under PURPA, and there is a push in a growing number of Western states to significantly reduce the term of QF contracts.

Utilities and IPPs must act now to understand how this changing landscape will affect their operations and the bottom line. This PURPA symposium is designed to provide instruction on PURPA and how it is being implemented across the US, as what happens in each State can impact utilities and IPPs around the country. Further, it will consider the future of QF contracts as renewable projects multiply and new standards are established that will have an effect on grid stability, resilience, reliability and profitability.

Learning Outcomes

 

  • Discuss the history of PURPA
  • Evaluate methodologies used in different states to set avoided cost rates
  • Discuss the use of competitive solicitations in the PURPA context
  • Analyze dealing with legally enforceable obligations
  • Evaluate battles over PURPA contract length
  • Discuss to what extent is PURPA obsolete for utilities that participate in RTOs or ISOs
  • Examine transmission issues arising out of the PURPA mandatory purchase obligation
  • Review pending federal legislation that would modify PURPA to classify DERs as QFs

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 0.9 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 conference to be eligible for continuing education credit.

Instructional Methods

This program will include PowerPoint presentations and panel discussions

Agenda

Thursday, November 16, 2017

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

8:30 – 8:45 a.m. :: Program Introduction


8:45 – 9:15 a.m. :: Keynote/Welcome Address: Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC)

Wendy Moser, Commissioner, Colorado PUC


9:15 – 10:30 a.m. :: The History of PURPA and the Evolving PURPA/QF Landscape

This session will provide information about the history of PURPA and set the participatory discussion tone for the symposium. In addition to the historical context of PURPA, further discussion will include an overview of the key features and changes to PURPA, and distinguishing between various qualifying facilities.

Robert Mudge, Principal, The Brattle Group

Emanuel Cocian, Holland & Hart LLC

10:30 – 10:45 a.m. :: Morning Break


10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: Avoided Cost Pricing:  Methodologies and Outcomes

Proxy resources, peaking plants, and production costs models may be common buzzwords in the PUPRA lexicon, but they represent very different ways to calculate avoided cost.  Do State regulators need to choose between accuracy and transparency?  Should avoided cost calculations be precise or easy to replicate?  To what extent should energy and capacity be treated separately?  This session will provide an overview of methodologies used in different states to set avoided cost rates, in order to answer the ultimate question of what costs QFs enable utilities to avoid. 

Jason T. Brown, Attorney, Montana Consumer Counsel

Zev Simpser, Shareholder, Briggs and Morgan

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. :: Group Luncheon


1:00 – 1:30 p.m. :: A Flood of QFs: Portland General Electric’s (PGE) PURPA Experience

In this session, Ryin Khandoker with PGE will discuss the multiple contributing factors which have resulted in PGE being inundated with QF PPA requests, his talk will cover:

  • Overview of the QF contracting parameters applied by PGE
  • Unprecedented growth of QF PPA requests
  • Contributing factors such as regulatory/policy changes within nearby states and at other Oregon investor owned utilities
  • Resulting implications including transmission constraints, complaints at the PUC, and higher customer rates

Ryin Khandoker, Structuring and Origination, Portland General Electric (PGE)


1:30 – 2:45 p.m. :: Terms & Conditions: Contract Length and Capacity Values

States are increasingly changing the structure of PURPA contracts and standard rates, from shortening contract lengths to setting tiered rates based on resource type. To what extent do state decisions need to accommodate QFs financing? How should rate structures account for intermittency and dispatchability? What is a QF entitled to know at the time an obligation is incurred? How long in long-term is a quickly changing utility landscape? This session will explore the structure of avoided cost rates, including the use of levelized versus escalating rates, standard contracts versus negotiations, and fixed versus volumetric payments.

Zev Simpser, Shareholder, Briggs and Morgan

Ann Hill, Attorney, NorthWestern Energy

2:45 – 3:00 p.m. :: Afternoon Break


3:00 – 4:15 p.m. :: PURPA in Organized Markets

The last major revision to PURPA lifted the must-purchase obligation where there is access to competitive markets. To what extent is PURPA obsolete for utilities that participate in RTOs or ISOs?  Do IPPs benefit more from PURPA mandates or access to competitive wholesale markets?  Will the line between state and federal jurisdiction shift in the future? This session will examine how you integrate QFs into RTOs

Eugene Mauk, Senior Advisor Client Relations, MISO

Mike Jacobs, Electricity Markets Lead, Union of Concerned Scientists

 


4:15 – 5:00 p.m. :: Panel Discussion: Day One Conference Recap

This closing panel discussion will allow conference attendees to ask specific questions of the presenters for discussion related to the previous sessions

Jason T. Brown, Attorney, Montana Consumer Counsel

Robert Mudge, Principal, The Brattle Group

Emanuel Cocian, Holland & Hart LLC


Friday, November 17, 2017

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


8:30 – 10:00 a.m. :: Legally Enforceable Obligations:  Barriers to Commitment

QFs have increasingly sought to enforce their rights under PURPA through LEOs.  What actions on the part of a developer show an unequivocal commitment to sell?  How much leeway do states have to establish different standards for creating an LEO?  How important are factors such as pricing, transmission, and site control?  This session will dive into the specific barriers to LEO formation that have arisen in various states

Jason T. Brown, Attorney, Montana Consumer Counsel

Ann Hill, Attorney, NorthWestern Energy

10:00 – 10:30 a.m. :: Networking Break


10:30 – 11:30 a.m. :: Panel Discussion: Purpose of PURPA:  Obsolete or More Relevant Than Ever?

In this panel discussion, a group of experts will bring to bear their years of experience to weigh the opportunities and constraints associated with PURPA — why it may be obsolete or more relevant than ever.

Moderator:

Jason T. Brown, Attorney, Montana Consumer Counsel

Panelists:

Robert Mudge, Principal, The Brattle Group

Ann Hill, Attorney, NorthWestern Energy

Zev Simpser, Shareholder, Briggs and Morgan

11:30 a.m. :: Symposium Concludes

Instructors

Jason T. Brown, Attorney, Montana Consumer Counsel

Emanuel Cocian, Associate, Holland & Hart LLC

Ann Hill, Attorney, NorthWestern Energy

Mike Jacobs, Electricity Markets Lead, Union of Concerned Scientists

Ryin Khandoker, Structuring and Origination, Portland General Electric (PGE)

Eugene Mauk, Senior Advisor Client Relations, MISO

Wendy Moser, Commissioner, Colorado PUC

Robert Mudge, Principal, The Brattle Group

Zev Simpser, Shareholder, Briggs and Morgan

 

Location

Courtyard by Marriott Denver Cherry Creek
1475 S Colorado Blvd
Denver, CO 80222

To reserve your room, please call 1-303-757-8797 or book online here.
Please indicate that you are with the EUCI group to receive the group rate.

Room Rate:

The room rate is $145.00 single or double plus applicable taxes.

Room Block Dates:

A room block has been reserved for the nights of November 15 – 16, 2017.

Rate Available Until:

Make your reservations prior to October 18, 2017. There are a limited number of rooms available at the conference rate. Please make your reservations early.

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